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EU threatens to revise bilateral deals amid Swiss immigration quotas

English.news.cn   2014-02-11 05:45:55

BRUSSELS, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Monday warned Switzerland that all their bilateral agreements would be revised, after Swiss narrowly backed proposals to reintroduce immigration quotas with the EU.

50.3 percent of Swiss nationals voted yes on Sunday to reintroducing immigration quotas on EU citizens in a referendum, which was heavily opposed by the Swiss federal government and the business leaders.

The European Commission (EC) on Monday expressed its regret about the outcome of the referendum, saying it ran counter to the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland.

"As to our overall relations with Switzerland, the EU is going to look at the implications of this," said a spokesperson of the EC.

Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament also warned Switzerland it cannot "cherry-pick" the EU policies and the agreements with EU.

The EU and the Swiss reached a package of agreements decade ago, including access to the EU's internal market and free movement of people.

"It is difficult to limit the free movements of citizens and not to limit the free movement of services for example," said Schulz in his statement, "So a lot of negotiations ahead."

According to an EC statement, Switzerland is a very close neighbor of the EU - geographically, politically, economically and culturally. It is the EU's third largest economic partner (trade in goods and services taken together), after the U.S. and China, ahead of Russia and Japan. In turn, the EU is by far the most important trading partner for Switzerland, accounting for 78 percent of its imports and 57 percent of its exports in goods in 2011.

The statement said that over a million EU citizens live in Switzerland and another 230,000 cross the border daily for work, meanwhile, about 430,000 Swiss live in the EU.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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