By August 2015, a group determined to create a fallback plan should Switzerland’s government fail to negotiate a deal with the EU, had gathered enough signatures to hold a referendum. Their initiative, known as RASA, would give voters a chance to decide whether to repeal the changes made to the constitution by the February 2014 vote to control EU migration, or lose access to the EU market, should it come to that.
Switzerland’s seven-member Federal Council, or cabinet, had until yesterday to decide whether to endorse the RASA initiative or come up with a counter proposal.
- Swiss immigration initiative RASA gets required number of signatures (Le News)
- New Swiss vote on EU immigration gets official go ahead (Le News)
The timing is delicate. The government is in the middle of finding a solution and negotiating a deal with the EU.
In a press release yesterday, the Federal Council said it rejects the RASA initiative and will unveil a counter proposal once parliament has finished working on the current project designed to implement the February 2014 initiative. In the statement, the Federal Council said it was opposed to RASA because insufficient time had passed to allow the democratic process to run its course.
- A 5-step guide to Switzerland’s immigration changes (Le News)
- 7 step guide to getting a Swiss passport (Le News)
In September this year, the Swiss National council adopted a plan that would partially implement the EU immigration restrictions set out in the constitution1, and hopefully be compatible with EU agreements. The plan includes rules requiring employers in Switzerland to offer jobs to those in Switzerland ahead of EU and EFTA nationals.
The States Council and a commission are currently looking at this plan. Parliament will decide definitively in December.
1 Article 121a of the Swiss constitution states that Switzerland independently manage foreign migration, migration numbers be limited by annual quotas, and no international agreement which gets in the way of this may be concluded. Full text.