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World Swiss voters clearly reject curbs on EU immigration

20:20  27 september  2020
20:20  27 september  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected on Sunday a right-wing party's attempt to scrap a pact allowing the free movement of people from the European Union, opting for stability amid the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of police officers riding on the back of a truck: A stand of the right-wing Swiss Peoples Party (SVP) is pictured at a market in Geneva, Switzerland on September 13, 2020. © FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/AFP via Getty Images A stand of the right-wing Swiss Peoples Party (SVP) is pictured at a market in Geneva, Switzerland on September 13, 2020.

The Swiss People's Party (SVP) had forced a binding referendum on the EU agreement in a bid to curb immigration to the country where foreigners make up a quarter of the population.

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The measure lost by 62%-38% margin.

The SVP - the biggest party in parliament - has long pushed to take back control of immigration, echoing some arguments pro-Brexit politicians used in the run-up to Britain's exit from the EU. It won a referendum on the issue in 2014, only to see parliament water down its implementation.

Opponents said the plan would have robbed business of skilled workers and torpedoed accords that enhance non-EU member Switzerland's access to the crucial EU single market.

Under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, the referendum could have forced the government to annul the EU agreement if negotiations did not produce a deal on ending the pact voluntarily, something Brussels has ruled out.

A "guillotine clause" meant that ending free movement would have toppled other bilateral pacts on land and air transport, procurement, technical barriers to trade, and research.

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Around two-thirds of the 2.1 million foreigners living in Switzerland in 2019 were citizens of the EU, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, which with Switzerland are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

More than 450,000 Swiss live in the EU.

The domestic political battle immediately turned to Switzerland's biggest foreign policy headache: a stalled treaty meant to cement ties with the EU but which critics say infringes too much on Swiss sovereignty and would never win a referendum.

The treaty would have Bern routinely adopt single market rules and create a new platform to resolve disputes.

With questions open over state aid, rules to protect high Swiss wages, and access to welfare benefits, the Swiss have dragged their feet while trying to forge a domestic consensus, triggering a row over cross-border stock trading.

Amid relatively high turnout, voters narrowly blocked an attempt to make it easier to shoot wolves deemed a threat to livestock.

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In an unexpectedly close vote, they approved the government's plans to buy new fighter jets for up to 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.46 billion).


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Triple Crown produces 3 different winners, likely no closure .
BALTIMORE (AP) More than two months after Tiz the Law blew away the field in the Belmont, Authentic fended off his charge and won the Kentucky Derby. Four weeks later, filly Swiss Skydiver challenged and beat Authentic in the Preakness. The Triple Crown races run out of order and later in the year produced three different winners and quite the competition for 3-year-old horse of the year. But it might be a long time - if ever - until that Tiz the Law, Authentic and Swiss Skydiver all run against each other in the same race.

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This is interesting!