Switzerland calls into question the free movement of workers

February 2014

Switzerland calls into question the free movement of workers

By endorsing the UDC’s initiative “against mass immigration” on 8 February, the Swiss voted for the introduction of annual quotas for workers, whether from across the border or people that have been granted asylum, thus going against the recommendations of the Federal Council.

It may be noted that French-speaking Switzerland and the areas bordering France* voted against this initiative.
The Federal Council will have to put forward draft legislation to make this vote concrete and the limits will have to be set in accordance with “Switzerland’s overall economic interests and the principle of national preference”, “international agreements contrary to this spirit - like the free movement of persons - will have to be renegotiated and adapted within a timeframe of three years”. The European Commission, for its part, regrets this initiative which “goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland”; it “will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole.”

* Notably Geneva, Basel-City, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, Valais and Fribourg.

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