GENEVA, June 5 (Xinhuanet) -- Fifty-four percent of Swiss backed closer
cooperation with the European Union (EU) on security and asylum issues in a vote
Bern-based GfS, which carried out analysis of the vote for the Swiss Broadcasting Company, said 54.6 percent had voted for membership of the "Schengen" treaty
and the Dublin accords, with turnout at around 56 percent.
Support for accession to the "Schengen" treaty, named after the Luxembourg
village where it was drawn up, as well as joining the so-called Dublin accords
which harmonize asylum procedures across Europe, was geographically divided with
western Switzerland in favor and eastern Switzerland -- excepting Zurich and Zug
Joining the Schengen area will mean Switzerland agreeing to abandon
systematic identity checks on its borders. In return, the country will gain
access to a Europe-wide electronic database on wanted and missing persons,
illegal immigrants and property.
By signing up to the Dublin accords, the Swiss will be party to an
agreement allowing member countries to turn away asylum seekers who had already
filed a request in another signatory country.
Both accords -- part of a series of bilateral treaties with the EU -- were
approved by the Swiss government and parliament last year.
The right-wing Swiss People's Party and the isolationist Campaign for an
Independent and Neutral Switzerland led opposition to the accords, collecting
enough signatures to force a nationwide vote on the issue.
They argued that joining the passport-free zone would trigger an influx of
foreign criminals to the county and would compromise Switzerland's sovereignty.
Supporters said participation in the Schengen Information System and the
European fingerprint database for asylum seekers, Eurodac, would make
Switzerland a more secure place and help reduce the number of asylum
It was also argued that the Schengen three-month visa would give a boost to
Swiss tourism. Enditem