Confrontation over immigration. Thus Switzerland dumps the EU on free movement

Confrontation over immigration. Thus Switzerland dumps the EU on free movement
Confrontation over immigration. Thus Switzerland dumps the EU on free movement

It is not one Brexi, because no country has left theEU, but we are close. There Switzerland on 26 May it decided to interrupt a vital negotiation with Brussels that had been going on for seven years. The reasons are to be found in the bugbear of the sale of sovereignty from the Swiss side on some issues considered fundamental. These also include those relating to the management ofimmigration.

The end of the negotiations

As we know, Switzerland is not part of the EU. However, relations between the Swiss federal government and the European Commission are regulated by specific agreements and in some cases Bern has adhered to treaties also in force in the Community, such as for example with regard to the Treaty of Schengen.

However, the specific agreements have never guaranteed stability in relations between the two parties. For this reason, negotiations were initiated in 2014 between the Swiss and EU authorities. The goal was to reach, within a few years, a treaty more comprehensive, capable of regularizing all the various thorniest issues.

Starting with Switzerland’s accession to the European common market. This latter circumstance does not only affect the economic sphere. Having privileged relations with a free trade area, such as the European one, also means orienting one’s own regulations towards greater freedom of circulation of vehicles and people. And this is where the Swiss sensed something was wrong.

As for the free movement of EU citizens, the Swiss government requested, but not obtained, that the acceptance of the European directive on the subject be accompanied by some exceptions – reads a press release by Guy Parmelin, head of the Swiss Federal Council – without which there is a risk that the rights of people benefiting from free movement are extended, with possible repercussions also on the costs of social assistance”.

The reference is to the management of the migration phenomenon: “Full transposition – the note continues – would in fact amount to a paradigm shift in migration policy, which is widely accepted by the population and the cantons”.

In short, if Switzerland had transposed European regulations on free movement without exception, then it would have had to implement the same migration policies in force in the EU. And therefore open its borders also to migrants regular or irregular ones, if the compulsory relocation line should pass through Brussels for those who land in the countries of first landing.

Hence Switzerland’s refusal to go ahead with the negotiations, abandoning the negotiating table with the EU. Obviously, it is not just migration policies that weigh on this choice. In fact, Bern also wants to maintain the limits on the freedom of movement of EU citizens from low-income countries. The concept expressed by the Swiss authorities is very clear: without control over freedom of movement, the risk is to pay very important social and economic costs.

New blow to the EU

From a political point of view, this is another important one for Brussels defeat. His Italy today, Tino Oldani compares it to Brexit. David Carretta on The paper makes no secret of the fact that the divorce with London may have weighed on today’s choice of the Swiss government. Another country, albeit not a member, has decided not to give up sovereignty especially on issues deemed to be of national interest. A sign of how the wake of the 2016 English referendum is still very present in public opinion throughout the Old Continent.

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