Monday

22nd Apr 2019

Signatures force Swiss referendums on EU affairs

A collection of signatures has secured the Swiss two referendums on EU-related affairs within the coming half year.

Voters will decide on 5 June whether Switzerland signs up to the European Union Schengen/Dublin accords on closer security and asylum co-operation.

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Led by the right wing People's Party, a petition bearing 86,000 signatures was handed to the government. This is well over the 50,000 needed to force a referendum.

Supporters of the Schengen/Dublin accords reacted immediately with 150 parliamentarians forming a cross-party committee on Thursday (31 March) to rally popular support for the EU treaties, according to the Swiss daily, Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).

Earlier this week 80,000 signatures were handed to the federal authorities in Bern in opposition to extending labour rights to citizens of the ten new member states of the European Union.

A referendum on this issue is expected to be held on 25 September.

Since June 2004, workers from the 15 "old" members of the EU have been allowed to work in Switzerland without a permit. Voters will now be asked to extend this accord to citizens of the ten new EU member states.

Spokesman for the right wing Swiss Democrats, Rudolf Keller, said, according to the NZZ, it was easy to collect the signatures and 100,000 or more could have been obtained without any problem.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union.

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