Voters rejected the popular initiative launched by the populist right of the SVP by 61.7%, advances the agency France-Presse. The country’s largest party denounces “uncontrolled and disproportionate immigration” and argues that jobs in Switzerland are threatened by the Free Movement of Persons Agreement, signed in 1999 with the European Union.
The rejected proposal, “Moderate Immigration Initiative”, wanted the Swiss Government to suspend this existing bilateral agreement with the EU on the free movement of people and to take full control of the country’s immigration policy.
The referendum participation rate was around 59% of voters. In order to be approved, the proposal would have to bring together the consensus of the majority of voters, but also of all 26 Swiss cantons.
In a statement, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, considered the result of the vote positive.
“The Swiss vote validates one of the central pillars of our relationship: the mutual freedom to move, live and work in Switzerland and the European Union. I welcome this result. I see it as a positive sign to continue to consolidate and deepen our relationship” , he stated.
About 1.4 million European Union citizens live in Switzerland and around 450,000 Swiss people live in European Union countries. There are still about 320,000 European Union citizens crossing the border every day to work in Switzerland, adds the president of the European executive.
After this referendum, Brussels now hopes to meet with Berne to conclude the institutional agreement that aims to facilitate bilateral relations, but the agreement that began to be negotiated in 2018 is far from reaching consensus in Switzerland.