Switzerland keen to maintain close ties with EU

The majority of Swiss residents would rather Switzerland maintained close economic ties with the EU rather than adopt immigration curbs for EU residents.

In 2014, the Swiss public narrowly voted to introduce immigration quotas for EU immigrants in a referendum. Last month, the Swiss government sidestepped this issue by adopting a system of giving unemployed locals hiring preference over EU nationals instead of imposing immigration quotas.

While public support remains for the introduction of immigration quotas, the majority do not want such curbs to impact on Switzerland’s relationship with the EU.

A survey carried out by OpinionPlus for the SonntagsBlick paper, which was published on Sunday, showed that 52 per cent of respondents opposed a campaign by a right-wing isolationist group to end the freedom of movement rules. Only 30 percent in favour. Even though Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it has bilateral accords in place which allow freedom of movement and permit Swiss access to the EU single market.

Indeed, while 47 per cent of respondents said they would again vote for immigration curbs, with only 43 per cent against, when pushed between either keeping the bilateral accords of introducing quotas, there was more support for the former. In total, 54 per cent backed the accords and 41 per cent wanted immigration quotas. A further 5 per cent were unsure.

Article published 3rd January 2017