Swiss Cabinet Negotiates Immigration Plans

The Swiss government rejected a proposal intended to curb immigration for European Union citizens and favoured presenting a counter proposal. Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said that trying to annul the results of the vote is undemocratic.

Simonetta reiterated the fact that no details on counter proposals had been fixed yet; she mentioned that the government wanted to enshrine the results of parliament’s discussions in a new constitutional vote.

A vote commonly called ‘Out of the Dead End,’ organized by a group of Swiss citizens is seeking to reverse the decision to introduce immigration quotas. The group managed to gather 110,000 signatures so far, the signatures will now have to be counted and verified and if found to be valid a vote date will be announced.

The ‘Out of the Dead End,’ group claims that narrow support for a proposal to re-introduce quotas on EU nationals threatens the bilateral relations between Switzerland and the European Union.

The group wants to stop the introduction of immigration quotas thereby modifying the Swiss constitution, which states that Switzerland may separately control immigration with quotas.

The ‘Out of the Dead End,’ group hope that Swiss citizens can cast their vote on the proposal before February 9 2017. Lawmakers have until 2017 to reconcile this hurdle otherwise Switzerland will have to provide quotas regardless of any compromise that might cause with the European Union.

Parliamentary Decisions

The Swiss Parliament and Senate will continue to debate implementing immigration restrictions, nevertheless the House of Representatives agreed to stop the quotas and give preferential status for Swiss residents in the labour market.

The rightwing Swiss People’s Party accused the government of ignoring the result of the earlier votes and trying to reject the initiative by accommodating the arguments of its political opponents instead.  

Political parties and groups like ‘Out of the Dead End,’ welcomed open negotiations, the government plans to present its own ideas to break a three-year impasse and thereby avoid a conflict with European Union.

European Union countries including Brussels have repeatedly mentioned that they are not willing to accept a breach of their policy on the free movement of people.

It is notable to mention that Switzerland has a series of bilateral agreements with Europe on transport, trade and research, a violation of policy will certainly affect its relationship with the EU as a whole.