Swiss to stop immigration from Europe

The Swiss have agreed in a referendum to restrictions on immigration from the neighbouring countries. “This will create problems for the Swiss business sector and the economy, which have benefited greatly from labour immigration from the EEA, as has Norway. It will be interesting to see what consequences this has for Switzerland’s relations with the EU,” said Vidar Helgesen, Minister of EEA and EU Affairs at the Office of the Prime Minister. 


In a referendum held on Sunday 9 February, 50.3 % agreed to the introduction of immigration quotas, including for EU/EEA citizens. The free movement of persons is enshrined in the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU, and is regulated through the EFTA Convention.

“The Swiss people have expressed their disagreement with their Government on an important aspect of Switzerland’s relations with other countries. Norway would like to emphasise the importance of free movement of persons for growth and prosperity in an open economy,” said Mr Helgesen.

The popular initiative “Stop mass immigration” was put forward by the country’s largest party, the Swiss People’s Party. They consider the proportion of immigrants in the country – 23 % – to be too high, and that immigration should be restricted through the introduction of quotas. Those opposed to the initiative, which include the Government, much of the business sector, the tourist industry and the health sector, point out that foreign labour is an important factor in the strong Swiss economy. The EU is Switzerland’s most important trade partner, and the Government has underlined the importance of maintaining good relations with the EU.

“The Swiss Government would like to cooperate more closely with the EU, and it is too early to say how the result of this referendum will affect relations between the EU and Switzerland. We will take up with the Swiss authorities the question of what effect the referendum could have for Norwegian nationals who want to live and work in Switzerland,” said Mr Helgesen.

 

Related news

Latest news

USCG confirms OPtimarin in Line for Ballast Water Approval

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has confirmed that Norwegian ballast water treatment specialist Optimarin has become the first supplier to submit an application for type approval.

New order for Servogear

Servogear announces that they have received a new order from Brødrene Aa. 

Norwater AS reports boost in sales

The Norwater team reports of great interest and busy days in 2016. In a press release, they state that as of the first 8 months of the year, 2016 sales are already beyond target for the year as a whole.

Gaia-facts reaching ground control

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released the first data from the Gaia mission, which has the tremendous task of building the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way.

Polish delegation for Norwegian circular waste management

Against the background of the EU's ambitious waste management targets, Norwegian and Polish stakeholders met on Wednesday 14 September in Drammen.

Milestone at Mongstad Water Treatment Plant

SAR AS reports that an extensive upgrade to the water treatment plant at Mongstad reached a new milestone July. 

Servogear signs new contract with Özata Shipyard

Servogear has announced the signing of a new contract with Özata Shipyard in Turkey. The contract includes the delivery of Servogear Ecoflow PropulsorTMfor two 39 meter passenger catamarans (YN 41 & YN 42).

Statoil and Petrobras strengthen strategic partnership

Statoil reports that they have strengthened their cooperation in Brazil by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Petrobras.

TechInvent and Island Offshore/Centrica announced winners of ONS Innovation Award

TechInvent and Island Offshore/Centrica were announced winners of the ONS 2016 Innovation Awards, at the Innovation Awards Ceremony Tuesday 30 August.