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Business warns e-passports key for economy

The business community has said electronic passports are crucial for the economy and for tourism, to ensure travel freedom.

This content was published on April 28, 2009 - 13:28

Swiss voters will decide whether to introduce passports with electronic chips as well as a central fingerprint register at the ballot box on May 17.

A committee of representatives of the Business Federation, the hotel industry and travel agents, as well as the centre-right Radical Party on Tuesday argued the new travel document was in line with international standards.

They said rejection of the new passport would damage the key Swiss export industry and complicate travel formalities particularly to the United States.

Campaigners also warned the European single-border area would be at risk and non-European tourists could be discouraged from visiting Switzerland.

They dismissed allegations that the new travel document and a central database were not secure from hackers and criminals.

On Monday the centre-right Christian Democratic Party accused opponents of the new passport of scaremongering about security standards and state surveillance.

The nationwide vote comes after a broad coalition of centre-left and rightwing parties challenged a parliamentary decision on introducing the new passport.

swissinfo

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