Tribune de Genève.
On 9 February 2014 a slim majority of 50.3% of Swiss voters called for an end to open immigration from European Union (EU) nations. Since then Switzerland has been engaged in difficult discussions with EU negotiators who say that Switzerland’s EU deals, which include trade, must come as a package and cannot exclude free movement of people.
In December last year a group called RASA – an acronym for “out of the dead end” in German (Raus aus der Sackgasse), started collecting signatures for a popular vote that would serve as a Plan B should EU negotiations fail. If successful, RASA’s initiative would remove the immigration quotas to be introduced into the Swiss constitution by the 9 February 2014 referendum if an EU deal is not reached and EU bilateral agreements were set to unravel.
The first step was to gather the required 100,000 signatures from Swiss citizens. On 19 August 2015 RASA announced that they had reached this milestone. RASA started collecting signatures in December 2014 and expects to collect a further 20,000 by the end of August, ensuring it has sufficient qualifying signatories.
This is only the first step in the process and the clock is ticking. The constitutional changes required by the 9 February 2014 vote must be implemented within three years. This means the new initiative must be lodged before the end of October this year to allow sufficient time for it to see the light of day.
Full Tribune de Genève article (in French)
A 5-step guide to Switzerland’s immigration changes (Le News – March 2015)
Swiss choose immigration quotas over EU bilaterals (Le News – February 2015)
RASA, the plan B initiative to save the bilaterals (Tribune de Genève – in French)
The RASA initiative (RASA’s website – in French)
RASA, a clear alternative to the chaos set off by 9 February 2014 (Domaine Public – in French)