SWITZERLAND will restrict the number of working permits it will issue to citizens of eight EU countries, including Slovakia, as of May 1. The other countries affected are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia, the Pravda daily reported.
Altogether some 7,600 Slovaks are believed to live in Switzerland at the moment and last year almost 1,400 Slovaks were granted permits to reside and work there, according to the daily.
The measure has angered not only the countries affected but also the EU. Switzerland made use of a so-called protection clause in an agreement on free movement of persons between Switzerland and the EU that enabled quotas to be reintroduced if the number of permits issued exceeded the average for the previous three years by more than 10 percent.
“It is not acceptable that Switzerland respects only the parts that suit it and disrespects the rest,” said the deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for European affairs, Ivan Štefanec, as quoted by Pravda, adding that Switzerland’s decision is in breach of the EU's free movement treaty.