Switzerland has voted to curb immigration, and this could be only the beginning. Foreigners now make up 25% of the Swiss population and the right wing Swiss Peoples Party is on the move to slash the foreign headcount. After its recent groundbreaking victory, the Peoples Party is on track to put forward an initiative to cut foreign immigration to 0.2% annually of the resident population. Here you get a recent update.
Voters in Switzerland have narrowly approved a rightwing proposal to curb immigration. It imposes limits on the number of foreigners allowed in and may signal an end to the country’s free movement accord with the European Union.
The initiative was approved by just 50.3% of votes cast and was passed by a majority of cantons.
The move by the Swiss People’s Party – known for its anti-foreigner and anti-EU agenda – will see the reintroduction of quotas, as well as a national preference when filling job vacancies and restrictions of immigrants’ rights to social benefits.
Critically, it also stipulates that Switzerland will have to renegotiate its bilateral accord with the EU on the free movement of people within three years or revoke it. This in turn could threaten other bilateral agreements with the EU.
Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga described the outcome as “a pivotal decision with far-reaching consequences”. “It reflects unease about population growth in recent years,” she added.
The cabinet now must submit a proposal to parliament on how to go forward. The government will also start talks with relevant EU bodies and member states in order to discuss the next steps.
Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter added the result would make negotiations with the EU on further bilateral accords more difficult. “But it is not a ‘Black Sunday’ for Switzerland. The people have decided and the government will impIement the decision for the best of the country,” he said.