Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat warned that the European Union’s migration talks with Switzerland will impact Brexit negotiations with the U.K.

“The issue is not Switzerland as a country but how this will impact negotiations with the U.K.,” Muscat told reporters in Valletta, Malta, where he was meeting with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann. “Are we redefining what freedom of movement means? This is something that we need to carefully approach.”

Switzerland’s government has been trying to find ways to introduce restrictions for newcomers without having to annul a bilateral deal with the EU that would cost Swiss output an estimated 32 billion francs ($33 billion) a year. Curbs on immigration were approved in a 2014 referendum that set a February 2017 deadline for implementation.

“Immigration is the biggest common challenge for the Mediterranean region, and the problem is once again rearing its head,” Muscat said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karl Stagno Navarra in Amsterdam at ksnavarra@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Kevin Costelloe

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