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EU relations Poll finds increasing support for EU treaties

Swiss chief negotiator de Watteville during a meeting a Lausanne University last week

(Keystone)

Swiss citizens increasingly prefer the bilateral accords with the European Union to immigration curbs according to a new opinion poll.

A survey by the leading GfS Bern research and polling institute found that support for re-introducing immigration quotas for EU citizens has dropped to 36%, down 3% from February.

A growing number of respondents said stable relations with the 28-nation bloc was important for the Swiss economy.

Just over 60% of the participants in the poll also said they wanted the immigration curbs, approved by Swiss voters in 2014, to be implemented without jeopardising the bilateral treaties with the EU.

The study was commissioned by Interpharma, an association of pharmaceutical companies, and published by the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper. It is based on telephone interviews with 2,057 citizens last month.

Timetable

The government is due to present its policy proposals to parliament shortly. They are aimed at enforcing the immigration curbs by next February. However, negotiations with Brussels remain blocked until mid-June, when Britain votes on a proposal to leave the EU.

On Saturday, the chief negotiator, Jacques de Watteville, told a meeting in Bern that Switzerland was facing an “enormous challenge”.

Reports say the Swiss government only has until July 6 to present its plans to senior EU officials.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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