Switzerland passes vote to restrict EU immigration

By Kyle Johnson,

Switzerland managed to squeeze through a referendum on the country's open-borders treaty with the European Union, in an aim to restrict immigration and limit workers from the EU.

The EU, which Switzerland is not a part, has made it fairly easy for citizens to move throughout the countries, but many have begun to see an influx of anti-immigration sentiments and worry about many from struggling countries flooding their borders, reports The Washington Post.

The anti-immigration movement started gaining traction among EU countries shortly after two poorer nations, Romania and Bulgaria, were granted full mobility rights.

"Immigration is the big theme of 2014 for Europe," said Mats Persson, who is the director of the think tank Open Europe. "One of the big risks is that the European parliament becomes quite polarized after the May elections, filled with federalists who want a closer union in Europe and nationalists who want exactly the opposite."

According to BBC News, some are shaking their head at Switzerland's actions, noting that the country could be hurt financially. Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's Finance Minister said the vote would cause "a host of difficulties for Switzerland."

Laurent Fabius, France's Foreign Minister, added, "it will hurt Switzerland to be inward-looking."

The Swiss vote could also lead EU countries to examine their own willingness to keep an open border. Switzerland added 80,000 immigrants in 2013, with population numbers showing that 23 percent of the country are now immigrants.

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