The decision of Switzerland to impose limits on the number of immigrants from eight European Union member states, including Slovakia, violates the EU agreement on free movement of people, Ivan Štefanec, deputy chair of the parliamentary committee for European affairs, told the TASR newswire.
“It is unacceptable to have Switzerland complying only with those parts of the treaty it finds favourable and ignoring others ... Such a decision is counterproductive and extraordinarily bad especially during this time of crisis because it is cooperation rather than isolationism that can help tackle the crisis,” Štefanec stated, as quoted by TASR.
The decision of Switzerland to restrict the quota for eight EU countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, has also drawn criticism from the foreign affairs ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as well as the speaker of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton.
“I regret the decision of Switzerland to discriminate against eight EU member states,” said Schulz, as quoted by TASR. “This goes against the spirit and letter of what Switzerland already signed up to. EU nationals in Switzerland benefit the Swiss economy. In good economic times or difficult ones, legal obligations, be it for EU member states or a third country, must be respected. Switzerland is the EU’s third largest trading partner and there are no clear legal or economic justifications for such a decision against eight EU member states,” Schulz added.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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23. Apr 2012 at 14:00