25th July 2014

No free movement redefinition for Switzerland, EU says

The Council´s Committee of Permanent Representatives rejected Swiss bid for re-negotiation of the EU-Swiss free movement of people. Switzerland voted in February that caps on immigration, including from the EU, should to be re-introduced by 2017. Since Switzerland and EU have an agreement that includes free movement of people, a re-negotiation of the agreement needs to take place in order for the Swiss government to be able to introduce caps. However, as the free movement of people is one of the fundamental principles of the EU, the Commission announced already in February that no re-definition will take place in relation to Switzerland. On 4 July, the Swiss government formally asked the EU for negotiations on the matter. On 24 July, COREPER agreed to endorse a letter of High Representative Ashton, in the name of the EU, to the acting Swiss President declining the Swiss bid. EU made it clear again, that no immigration caps are thinkable vis-a-vis Switzerland. This puts the Swiss government in an awkward position. The vote of February requires it to take legislative action, but without the consent of the EU, which is unthinkable, it is unable to deliver. One of the options is to have another referendum by 2017 about a more general question regarding the Swiss-EU relations.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic