EU Gives Switzerland Time to Redress Free Movement
The EU will allow Switzerland time to find a solution after the country's referendum that approved the introduction of immigration quotas.
Europe, however, cannot compromise on the principle of freedom of movement, officials from the bloc said on Thursday.
The chief operating officer of the EU external affairs service David O'Sullivan described the impact of last week's voting in Switzerland as "a serious... not a minor change which we have to assess calmly". He repeated the EU's stance that the freedom of movement is a fundamental core value of the union and as such is not open for negotiation.
New talks between Switzerland and the EU are indispensable on the matter as the two sides are "friends", even "a family", O'Sullivan underscored.
He also declared the EU's acknowledgement that the upcoming discussions between Brussels and Bern should be addressed as the mere "result of a political process" and it is too early to set any concrete plans, informs the Swiss Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
The next meeting will reportedly take place before Easter.
Switzerland's decision has already yielded some negative results, as Bern was forced to drop a market access accord with new member state Croatia following the February 9 referendum. As a consequence, Brussels suspended Swiss participation in EU research and education programmes.
The Swiss population voted by a narrow 50.3% to curb immigration into the country, thus putting in jeopardy some agreements with the EU, especially those involving goods, capital, services, and people, which are the union's "four freedoms" the country has accepted as part of the European Economic Area even though it is not an EU member.
Due to the high number of accords with the bloc as well as to its geography, the economy of Switzerland is closely intertwined with the rest of Europe, to which most of its thriving exports are destined.
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This will happen more and more across the State of European union. These unelected bureaucrats will never understand that they cannot ride roughshod over the PEOPLES of Europe. They do so at their own risk. I despise this foul organisation. It is dishonest, evil and unnatural.