EU To Reassess Ties After Swiss Voters Back Migrant Curbs

Zurich immigration swiss signMichael Buholzer/AFPPhoto taken on February 6, 2014 in Zurich shows a man walking past an electoral poster against the ‘Stop Mass Immigration’ referendum by the Swiss People’s Party

The European Commission said it would assess EU ties with Switzerland after the Alpine country voted Sunday to limit immigration from the European Union, its biggest trading partner by far.

“The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole,” said a statement after Swiss results showed a narrow victory for a proposal pushed by right-wing populists.

The European Commission said it “regrets” the Swiss vote, which “goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland.”

Although Switzerland is not an EU member, it signed onto the EU accord for free movement of citizens in 1999 and implemented it from 2002.

While Sunday’s vote focused only on that issue, fall-out from the result could imperil Switzerland’s trade with the big European bloc, which its economy depends on. Brussels has already made it clear that Bern cannot cherry-pick among EU advantages.

An estimated 400,000 Swiss citizens live in the EU, many of them dual nationals, while more than a million EU citizens currently live in Switzerland.

Copyright (2014) AFP. All rights reserved.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.