Bern In Sunday’s referendum, the Swiss apparently rejected a proposal to repeal the agreement with the European Union on the free movement of persons, Swiss television SRF reported after the noon closing of polling stations. According to projections based on partial results, over 60 percent of participants were against. Other issues were also voted on in the referendum.
The plebiscite was initiated by the nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), according to which the treaty allows for mass immigration into the country. According to Reuters, the vote was an important test of access to foreigners, who make up about a quarter of Switzerland’s population.
Rejection of the proposal to abolish free movement could bring new energy to the lengthy negotiations between Switzerland and the EU on cooperation. The Union wants to include all bilateral arrangements with Bern in a framework agreement that would guarantee their automatic transposition when EU law is amended. But conservative Swiss fear a creeping expansion of EU regulations in their country.
On Sunday, the Swiss also voted to introduce a two-week paternity leave, to facilitate the shooting of wolves, beavers and other animals, the purchase of new fighters or tax breaks for families with children.