Our colleagues in the organisation SUISSES DE L’'ETRANGER (OSA) very strongly regret the result of the referendum on Sunday 9th February. Altogether 453.000 Swiss citizens live and work in a member state of the EU. And in the referendum yesterday they have voted against the proposal to limit the free movement.
See the declaration from OSA below (you can find the German version here: www.aso.ch)
(Text below translated by BVC.)
Please read at the end the significance of this for British Citizens in the EU
The acceptance of the initiative against mass immigration on Sunday by the cantons of the Swiss people strongly worries the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). This result undermines the agreement on the free movement of persons. An agreement which, until now, greatly facilitated the lives of the Swiss Abroad , more than half of whom live in another country of the European Union.
The OSA has noted with concern the results of the popular vote on the initiative against mass immigration . Its acceptance menaces the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU and , in particular, the agreement on the free movement of people , a text that relates closely to the Swiss abroad living in EU countries or wishing to settle there. Note that the results of 9 of the 10 cantons that count separately the votes of the Swiss Abroad (LU , VD, EN , BS , AI, SG, TG , AG, GE) are already known. They show that the Swiss abroad of these cantons have refused the initiative. The results for the Neuchâtel abroad are not yet known.
Of about 732,000 Swiss abroad , nearly 453,000 are resident in a EU country . The acceptance of the initiative against mass immigration could jeopardize equal treatment between Swiss citizens and others of the EU, which is currently the norm. Until now, the foreign Swiss citizens in the EU directly enjoy the benefits of the free movement of people that allows them to look for work in any country of the EU, to establish themselves, and to have automatic recognition of their qualifications. The magnitude of the consequences of ‘yes’ is still uncertain, especially because of the "guillotine clause". OSA is concerned that the new provisions required by the text will have potentially negative effects for Swiss citizens resident in the EU .
Given that the EU is the main trading party of our country (Switzerland), the presence of our countrymen in these countries is an opportunity for Switzerland to use the extensive network of Swiss citizens integrated directly into the structure of the EU. They are also able to directly explain our political system and our interests. In the future, their flexibility and freedom of movement may be reduced.
THE SIGNIFICANCE for the BRITISH CITIZEN in the EU
1. Note the danger for all British Citizens in the EU if decisions on our future is made by the resident population in the home country! That is what we face if any Referendum in the UK excludes the citizen residing in Europe. And even, if as in the Swiss case, they are counted, the view of the Citizen Abroad can be swamped by the 'home' based electorate!
2. Not only the above, but citizens of other EU States resident in Switzerland could wonder on their future. Free right of residence could be threatened.
3. This is one important reason among others why we need REPRESENTATION at Westminster. Our voice needs to be heard.
4. This is why all British Citizens should sign up to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55085
Organisation des Suisses de l’étranger (OSE)
T: 031 356 61 00 | 078 703 56 96