Justice minister says limiting free movement would be ‘Swiss Brexit’

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter says security in Switzerland is generally high Keystone

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter has spoken out against an initiative to end free movement of people between Switzerland and the European Union. Marking 100 days in her post, she said a yes to the initiative would result in a “Swiss Brexit”. 

This content was published on March 29, 2019 - 15:17

Combating the anti-immigration initiative from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party is currently one of her priorities, Keller-Sutter told the media on Friday. The bilateral path taken by non-EU Switzerland means prosperity and jobs, she said. “860,000 jobs in Switzerland depend on it.” 

An acceptance of the initiative would be “the Swiss Brexit”, Keller-Sutter said, referring to the United Kingdom’s current crisis after it voted to leave the EU in June 2016. 

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To prevent this, the alliance of forces in favour of the bilateral path must be renewed, she said. This can only be achieved through the “coming together of social partners and a balance between openness and market access on the one hand and national interests in social security and wage protection on the other”. 

Jihadist challenge 

Security in Switzerland is generally high, she said. However, with the continued threat of jihadism, new security issues have emerged in prevention, surveillance and punishment. 

Keller-Sutter said she was working with the cantons to investigate how convicted terrorists could be kept in custody even after the end of their sentence if they still pose a threat. 

She stressed it was clear, however, that in any event “Switzerland will adhere to existing national and international law”.

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