On 9 February last year, the Swiss people voted in favor of a proposal to tackle “mass-immigration” with 50.3% of the votes and a majority of the cantons. The constitutional initiative proposed by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has shed doubt on the future of the free movement of people principle and thus seriously shaken the complex relationship between the EU and Switzerland.
The Swiss government has until February 2017 to propose a law adapting the new constitutional provision. One year has already passed without much progress as the government remains strongly divided on the best way to implement possible quotas on immigration while maintaining good relations with its main economic and political partner – the EU. Switzerland hopes to renegotiate the complex agreements governing its relations with the EU in a new framework agreement. However, its leverage is small. Continue reading