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World After referendum win, Swiss face dilemma over stalled EU treaty

14:01  28 september  2020
14:01  28 september  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Italians vote in regional elections, referendum in test for coalition

  Italians vote in regional elections, referendum in test for coalition Italians vote in regional elections, referendum in test for coalitionROME (Reuters) - Italians began voting on Sunday in a raft of local ballots and a referendum, with the ruling coalition under pressure in its first electoral test since the coronavirus crisis.

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a rightwing party’ s attempt to scrap a pact allowing the free movement of people from the European Union , according to a projection of results by the broadcaster SRF on Sunday. The Swiss People’ s party (SVP) had called a referendum on the EU agreement – a

Switzerland is not a member of the EU but has a series of interdependent treaties with Brussels which allow it to access to Europe ' s free trade area. A similar initiative to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU to Switzerland narrowly passed in a 2014 referendum , damaging Swiss - EU relations.

By Michael Shields

a close up of a flag: FILE PHOTO: Switzerland's national flag flies beside the one of the European Union in Steinhausen © Reuters/ARND WIEGMANN FILE PHOTO: Switzerland's national flag flies beside the one of the European Union in Steinhausen

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government is sailing into rough waters as it seeks to tackle a new treaty on relations with the European Union, even though it won a weekend referendum against domestic eurosceptics seeking to strengthen curbs on immigration from the bloc.

Voters rejected by 62%-38% on Sunday the right-wing Swiss People's Party's (SVP) push to scrap a pact allowing free movement of people from the EU to a nation where foreigners make up a quarter of the population of 8.6 million.

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Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have prevented EU citizens from being able to freely work and live in the country. Switzerland ' s public broadcaster projected the initiative would fail with roughly 62% voting against it in Sunday' s referendum . The initiative, brought by the

Switzerland isn't in the EU , but it does enjoy access to free trade - on condition of it also having And Franz Muheim, a professor of particle physics at Edinburgh University for over 20 years 2005: Swiss vote to join Europe ' s Schengen open borders treaty and extend free movement to 10 new EU states.

But the resounding referendum triumph does not translate into easy acceptance of the wide-ranging treaty with the EU that has lain dormant for two years.

Arguments over state aid, EU citizens' access to Swiss welfare benefits and unilateral Swiss rules designed to protect high wages from competition by cross-border workers on temporary assignments have proved too tough a nut for the Swiss side to crack in domestic talks to forge a consensus.

Critics say the deal infringes so much on Swiss sovereignty that it would never win a majority in parliament or a binding referendum practically sure to arise under the Swiss system of direct democracy

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said after Sunday's vote that the government would take weeks to establish its position and resume talks with Brussels on the draft treaty, which would have Bern routinely adopt single market rules and create a new dispute settlement platform.

Sunday referendum in Switzerland on the free movement of persons

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Swiss voters go to the polls on Sunday for a referendum critical to the wealthy Alpine state’ s future relationship with the EU . Switzerland , whose GDP is bigger than Poland’ s despite a population of just 8.5 million, is the EU ’ s fourth-largest external trading partner after the US, China and the UK.

Swiss voters on Sunday overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to limit the free movement of people and immigration from the European Union . The SVP, which has built its platform on condemning EU influence within Switzerland , has warned that the country is facing "uncontrolled and excessive

'LOVE-HATE STORY'

That is unlikely to go down well in Brussels, already so irked by Swiss foot-dragging that it launched a battle over cross-border stock trading last year.

"Switzerland and the EU is a love-hate story," newspaper Le Temps wrote. Despite the weekend vote, "never has the conclusion of a framework agreement ... seemed further away."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the vote as positive for Swiss-EU ties, adding she would speak soon to Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga to congratulate her.

"Of course, I look forward to the Swiss (cabinet) now moving swiftly on the signature and ratification of the International Framework Agreement that we negotiated in 2018," she added.

Swiss politicians across the political spectrum and labour leaders have said they could not endorse the treaty as it stands and called for maintaining the status quo of 120 custom-made bilateral pacts governing ties, at least for now.

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Strained Swiss - EU relations. The referendum ' s outcome means the government will likely push forward talks with the EU on a framework agreement to regulate this Switzerland is not a member of the EU but is part of the bloc' s Single Market through several bilateral treaties , which allow for the

Switzerland should put their feet in the sand, admitting fully to what the EU wants is worse than having the "deal" collapse. Not since the SVP managed to persuade the Swiss electorate to vote for restrictions to the EU ' s free movement of people policy, which was a pre-requisite

That could be a hard sell for the EU, which is loath to give Switzerland any concessions that British negotiators could seize on in separate EU negotiations over Brexit.

Tages-Anzeiger newspaper columnist Fabian Fellmann said the Swiss government would have to play for time while it sought domestic support and Brexit was finalised.

"That may seem timid, but it is better than heading for an open break with the EU," he wrote.

European Council President Charles Michel had kind words for the Swiss at the weekend. But he tweeted on Friday he would not accept cherry-picking from either London or Bern.

"Access to the EU's large market will no longer be sold off. From now on, we will better enforce the level playing field, in a market open to those who respect its standards. Whether they leave our Union or want to move closer to it," he wrote.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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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