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Easing integration of foreigners

The authorities in canton Lucerne have presented proposals aimed at facilitating the practice of naturalisation. The report comes in the wake of a controversial decision by voters in the industrial town of Emmen.

The authorities in canton Lucerne have presented proposals aimed at easing the integration of foreigners and facilitating the practice of naturalisation. The report comes in the wake of a controversial decision by voters in the industrial town of Emmen.

The cantonal government said it was considering changes to the law on citizenship. It said easing the practice of naturalising young foreigners who have grown up in Switzerland should have priority. It is also recommends providing financial support for integration projects.

The government said integration benefitted both foreign and Swiss residents, but both sides had to take a step to make it work. It said it was wrong to refuse citizenship to protest at the federal government's immigration and asylum policy. Some conservative groups would like to put a limit on the number of foreigners allowed into the country.

The Lucerne government said it would begin talks with local authorities to co-ordinate the policy changes which are in line with the federal justice ministry.

Last month, voters in the town of Emmen, near Lucerne, refused to grant citizenship to applicants, mainly from the Balkans. The decision sparked a public outcry over racial discrimination and prompted calls by the federal parliament to streamline and speed up the complicated three-stage naturalisation procedure.

swissinfo and agencies

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