Thursday

18th Jan 2018

EU and Swiss still at odds on migrant quotas

The EU and Switzerland remain split on a Swiss plan to stem the number of migrants from member states.

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters in Brussels on Monday (21 December) that the two sides are still looking for a solution after Switzerland voted to impose migrant quotas in a referendum in 2014.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Switzerland is set to impose quotas on migrants (Photo: Lars Francke)

"We hope that by February we will be able to set out what progress has been made," he said.

The Swiss referendum has strained bilateral relations, given the free movement principles which underpin the borderless Schengen zone.

Switzerland, while not an EU member state, is part of Schengen.

But the 2014 popular vote introduced annual quantitative limits to immigration, which includes cross-border commuters, asylum seekers, and people looking for work from the EU.

Such limits may undermine the EU-Swiss agreement on free movement. But under Swiss rules, the law must be implemented by February 2017.

"We're still trying to adopt rules on the basis of Article 14(2) of the Free Movement agreement that would allow us to bring our relations with Switzerland in order," said Juncker.

The Swiss Federal Council - its federal executive branch - and EU authorities are trying to reconcile the division.

"We have cleared the ground but we have no solution ... there is still a difficult way to go and a lot of work to be done. We might succeed, we might not," said Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga.

Earlier this month, the Swiss government instructed the federal department of justice and police to create a "safe guard clause" in case talks fail.

The clause would allow for targetted restrictions on permits for persons from EU states.

Switzerland has more than 100 bilateral agreements with the EU.

If no final deal emerges, Switzerland said it is willing to scrap part or all of its bilateral economic pacts as a last resort, reports Reuters.

According to the European Commission, over 1 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and another 230,000 cross the border daily for work. Some 430,000 Swiss live in the EU.

The EU is Switzerland's largest trade partner. In 2011, the EU accounted for 78 percent of its imports and 57 percent of its exports.

Switzerland threatens EU immigration quota

The Swiss government announced it would limit immigration from EU countries with a unilateral quota by March 2016 if it is unable to strike a deal with the EU.

Column / Crude World

Petropolitics 2.0

If oil prices remain depressed long enough, Europe's eastern neighbourhood can quickly become an even more contentious place than it already is.

EU eyes 'specific' Swiss deal on migrants

The European Commission is “OK” to make a “Swiss-specific” pact on immigration, even if it has an impact on upcoming talks with the UK.

MEPs target exports of cyber surveillance tech

MEPs have introduced a human rights clause into the export of cyber surveillance technology as part of EU-wide reforms to prevent abuse by autocratic regimes. The Strasbourg plenary will vote on the bill on Wednesday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia
  2. Taking full benefit of supercomputers in Europe
  3. Spitzenkandidat system 'difficult to get rid of', hopes lead MEP
  4. Rights NGOs face fresh threats across the EU, agency says
  5. EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate, chief insists
  6. EU 'hypocrisy' condemns people to Libya, says NGO
  7. Next year's EU election at risk of Russian meddling
  8. Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration