Switzerland Votes ‘Against Mass Immigration’: How Can the EU Respond?

13-02-2014

The EU-Switzerland Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, signed in 1999, is linked to six other agreements. As the EU incorporated new Member States, the bilateral agreements with Switzerland were extended to new EU countries. The Swiss government has already applied a ‘safeguard clause’ to limit the longterm residence permits for EU citizens. The Swiss authorities must implement the referendum within three years. The EU may choose among different courses of action, which would involve the European Parliament to different degrees. The seven linked agreements could be terminated… or suspended. Negotiations on the wider institutional framework for bilateral relations may also be frozen. The referendum confirms the need for a new framework.

The EU-Switzerland Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, signed in 1999, is linked to six other agreements. As the EU incorporated new Member States, the bilateral agreements with Switzerland were extended to new EU countries. The Swiss government has already applied a ‘safeguard clause’ to limit the longterm residence permits for EU citizens. The Swiss authorities must implement the referendum within three years. The EU may choose among different courses of action, which would involve the European Parliament to different degrees. The seven linked agreements could be terminated… or suspended. Negotiations on the wider institutional framework for bilateral relations may also be frozen. The referendum confirms the need for a new framework.