The tense relationship between the European Union and Switzerland will finally ease up, after the European Union and Switzerland agreed to get back on track and resume talks on immigration.
Previously Switzerland had a stringent viewpoint regarding its immigration policies, however in a meeting between Swiss and EU committee members earlier this month the EU said that it is glad to see that change.
The EU hailed Switzerland’s willingness to respect the agreement on the free movement of people as major milestone in improving its immigration policies.
The Swiss parliament agreed to adopt a moderated version of the 2014 anti-immigration initiative that will give unemployed Swiss workers national preference over EU citizens in the Swiss job market but does not impose any limitations on EU immigration as was previously voted for by Swiss citizens.
The Swiss government has agreed to drop the idea of immigration quotas, which had initially put it at odds with European Union’s policy on the free movement of people. The idea of immigration quotas sprang up from the rightwing Swiss People’s party in February 2014, the party created a campaign initiative to curb mass immigration in Switzerland.
By giving up on the idea of immigration quotas the Swiss parliament avoided a major conflict with the European Union. In turn the European Union Commission reacted to the decision by releasing an official statement haling their progress on the issue.
In the statement the EU said that the new Swiss law should make it possible to preserve the integrity of the contractual commitments that link the EU and Switzerland. The statement advised that further clarification and guarantees would still be required regarding key elements of the new law.
The statement stressed the importance of obtaining answers on access to information about vacant positions in the Swiss labour market and the rights of cross-border workers. The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker said that the agreement “guarantees the full integrity of one of our founding principles: the free movement of people.”
Many in the Swiss government welcomed the EU agreement with a sigh of relief. For some that meant struggling for nearly three years to find a way of implementing the 2014 Swiss anti-immigration policy without disregarding the free movement of people stipulated with the EU.
How the Swiss People’s Party reacts to this news is yet to be seen, many fear that rising anger from their side might cause them to think that Swiss parliament is undemocratic by ignoring the demand of the people.