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Swiss free movement referendum - No quotas on the application of EU law


10 Feb 2014


Social Europe & Jobs

Commenting on the outcome of this weekend's referendum in Switzerland, in which a majority voted in favour of restrictions on immigration, including the free movement of EU citizens to Switzerland, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

"Even if it only passed with a narrow majority, this referendum must lead to reflection and leaves Switzerland in a difficult situation. It is clear that this democratic decision has to be respected in Switzerland, but it is also clear that there can be no quotas or thresholds on the application of EU law and fundamental EU principles. The European Commission is right to defend this and the Swiss government will now have to work to find a viable solution, which respects this and guarantees the inviolable right to free movement, as a core component of the single market. However, the EU must also address the public unease about the future, which this referendum outcome is a symptom of."

Green migration and home affairs spokesperson Judith Sargentini added:

"The vote to impose curbs the reception of refugees and asylum seekers is a further source of regret and has to be viewed in the context of a growing trend across Europe to restrict those seeking refuge or asylum in Europe. Of all countries, Switzerland should be aware of the Geneva Convention and the principle of non-refoulement of refugees it sets out. We hope the EU will also defend this universal principle and work with the Swiss authorities to ensure it too is upheld."

Richard More O'Ferrall
Press and media officer,
Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament
Mobile: +32-477-443842
Ph. +32-22841669 (Brussels); +33-388174042 (Strasbourg) - -