Original title: Switzerland will enforce restrictions on immigration policy. This may lead to tensions with the EU
Switzerland on the 9th “to oppose large-scale immigration” initiative to hold a referendum. The results of the vote showed that those who supported the proponent of the Swiss citizen won with a slight advantage of 50.3%; in the state, more than half of the states supported the position. Analysts here pointed out that the results of this referendum will force the Swiss federal government to set a quota for the number of EU immigrants, which in turn leads to tensions between Switzerland and the EU.
The history of the referendum can be traced back to the Athens city-state of ancient Greece, but only one country in Switzerland is still holding a referendum. The Swiss Constitution stipulates that Switzerland implements a direct democracy in the form of “citizen voting” and “citizen initiative”. A referendum can be initiated as long as it can collect 100,000 legitimate citizen signatures, and once the referendum meets the dual conditions of majority voter and most state support, the results of the referendum have legal effect and must be enforced by the Swiss federal government.
The “Anti-mass immigration” initiative was proposed by the far-right Swiss People’s Party. The party proposes to reinstate the annual foreigner quota policy and calls for priority consideration of nationals in resettlement. According to statistics, the referendum vote rate of the referendum is 55.8%, which is 12 percentage points higher than the average rate of voting in the past and is at a historical high. However, from the results of the voting, the German-speaking areas of the German-speaking and French-speaking regions are very different. The cantons of the French-speaking regions of Switzerland and the German-speaking regions of the German-speaking region all objected, while the German-speaking regions of central and eastern Switzerland were basically supportive.
The main reason for the dissatisfaction of Swiss citizens with immigrants is the rapid growth of EU citizens who have worked and lived in Switzerland in recent years. On June 1, 2002, the free movement agreement between Switzerland and the European Union came into force. At that time, the Swiss federal government had stated that the maximum number of people accepted in Switzerland in a year was only 8,000. The Swiss community has had a heated debate around whether to extend this agreement to the new EU member states. The supporters believe that the strong economic growth of the new EU member states and the free flow of people with these countries will inject vitality into the Swiss economy. The other side believes that the influx of labor will increase the unemployment rate in Switzerland, the society becomes insecure and threaten the vital interests of Swiss citizens.
In 2004, the Swiss federal government and parliament approved the extension of the free movement of people to new EU member states. Since then, with the outbreak of the European debt crisis, the bright Swiss economy has become more attractive to EU immigrants, and immigration has further increased. Statistics show that the number of immigrants coming to Switzerland each year has reached 80,000. At present, foreign immigrants in Switzerland account for 23.5% of the total population, or 1.88 million, of which 1.25 million are from Europe.
After the results of the referendum were announced, some political and economic circles in Switzerland expressed their concerns. Some even referred to the 9th as “Black Sunday”. They said that the adoption of the initiative will affect Switzerland’s engagement with the outside world, especially with the EU countries. The European Commission has issued a statement saying that it regrets the results of the referendum in Switzerland, and the European Commission will study the consequences of this initiative on bilateral relations.
The Swiss federal government has previously called for a vote against the initiative of the People’s Party. However, after the referendum, the Swiss federal government is expected to have to re-examine the free movement agreement with the EU and set a limit on the number of immigrants to Switzerland according to their own needs. (Chen Jian)
Responsible Editor: Zhang Xiaofang