On 12 June 2017, Switzerland’s parliament agreed to look at improving criminal record checks of EU nationals moving to Switzerland, but it wants a solution that avoids complicating relations with Brussels.
One possibility would be for Switzerland to join the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) programme which allows EU states to exchange information on criminal prosecutions. ECRIS was established in 2012 and is designed to create a centralised police record in an individual’s country of citizenship. It pulls records related to an individual from other national databases via a centralised system and adds them to their local file.
Switzerland’s minister of justice, Simonetta Sommaruga, said it would be necessary to examine the system’s strengths and weaknesses.
While the government is looking at the issue, two initiatives in the canton of Ticino, aimed at requiring foreigners to provide their police records when applying for residency in Switzerland, will be put on hold. The two initiatives were initiated by Lorenzo Quadri, a national councillor from Lugano and member of the political party Lega dei Ticinesi, who referred to an incident in 2008 when an Italian national living in Ticino shot two men in the town of Losone.
The Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive body, was against the idea given the strain discussions on free movement of people have had on relations with Brussels, something parliament also recognised.
In addition, the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s supreme court, might decide it isn’t worth pursuing given the overriding importance of Switzerland’s bilateral agreements with the EU.
Minister of justice, Simonetta Sommaruga, also pointed out that the mood had changed in Ticino, where the canton’s government had withdrawn a requirement to present police records when applying for B or G permits.