Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Switzerland on Sunday for rejecting a proposal for a popular initiative supported by the Democratic Union of the Center and aimed at restricting Swiss authorities to the number of European citizens allowed to live and work in the country.
“The vote of the citizens of Switzerland supports one of the great pillars of our relationship: the mutual free movement of people, housing and work in Switzerland and the European Union. It is with optimism that I face this result and see it as a positive sign to continue consolidating and deepening our relationship ”, stressed the President of the European Commission.
The vote of the citizens of Switzerland upholds one of the core pillars of our relationship: the mutual freedom to move, live and work in Switzerland and the EU.
I welcome this outcome and see it as a positive signal to continue to consolidate and deepen our relationship. 🇨🇭 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/yWYCzjtY7M
– Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 27, 2020
The projections indicate that the restriction on the entry of European Union citizens into Switzerland, proposed by a nationalist party and which was voted on in the country today, was rejected by the majority.
According to the AP and AFP news agencies, the first projections by the gfs-Bern polling institute, based on a partial vote count, suggest that the majority of the Swiss voted against the popular initiative supported by the Democratic Center Union (UDC). in French) which suggested a restriction on the number of European citizens allowed to live and work in the country.
This popular initiative that aims to end the free movement of people with the European Union (EU), to which the Swiss Government has expressed opposition, should have been voted in May, but the referendum had to be canceled due to the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus.
The proposal, entitled “Moderate Immigration Initiative”, wants the Swiss government to suspend an existing bilateral agreement with the EU on the free movement of people and to take full control of the country’s immigration policy.
The committee supporting this initiative estimates that since the bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the EU was established in 2002, the country has witnessed mass immigration, which, according to supporters, has contributed to the increase in unemployment and a threat of the country’s freedom and prosperity.
Under the current free movement agreement, both sides allow free access to each other’s labor markets and the right to choose their place of residence.
With immigration restrictions, the agreements on trade, agriculture, transport and research would be invalid, as they are part of a package of seven bilateral agreements in force since 2002.
In addition to the immigration limitation initiative, the Swiss voted on four other issues: an amendment to the law on hunting, the introduction of paid paternity leave, the increase in child deductions in Federal Direct Taxes and the purchase of new fighter planes.
The polls indicate that the proposed two-week paternity leave was approved by a “large majority”, advances AFP.