Sunday, February 9, 2014
A narrow majority of voters in Switzerland has approved proposals that would reintroduce restrictions on the number of foreigners who are allowed to live and work in the country, a move that could have far-reaching implications for Switzerland’s relations with the European Union
The referendum on the changes to the country’s liberal immigration law was a rebuke to the Swiss government, the banking industry and business leaders who had lobbied against the restrictions, warning that such a move could endanger Switzerland’s prosperity. The Swiss initiative foresees annual quotas on the number of immigrants allowed to work in the country, as well as limits for specific sectors. It would also require preference be given to Swiss applicants for open positions. In Brussels, the European Commission issued a statement saying that it was “disappointed” that the initiative had passed, adding that it would have to study the vote’s implications on relations between the European Union and Switzerland.