The Swiss will in May vote on a proposal that could dramatically limit immigration from the EU, six years after a similar referendum nearly destroyed relations with the bloc.
The Swiss government announced Wednesday (15 January) that the so-called “limitation initiative” would be one of the issues on the ballot for the year’s second round of popular votes, on 17 May.
The initiative, backed by the populist rightwing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and opposed by the government, calls for the country to revise its constitution to ensure it can autonomously handle its immigration policy.
SVP, Switzerland’s largest party, has built its brand by condemning immigration as well as the influence of the European Union in non-EU-member Switzerland.
If the initiative passes, Swiss authorities would have one year to negotiate an end to its 1999 agreement with Brussels on the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the bloc.
The initiative goes even further than a similar initiative, also backed by SVP, that was voted on in February 2014. It demanded that Bern impose quotas on migration from EU countries.
Read more: euractiv