Expatriates in favour of EU bilateral accords

Representatives of Switzerland's large expatriate community say they are in favour of a series of bilateral accords with the European Union. The seven accords will be voted on in a referendum on May 21.

This content was published on March 28, 2000 - 20:39

Representatives of Switzerland's large expatriate community say they are in favour of a series of bilateral accords with the European Union. The seven accords will be voted on in a referendum on May 21.

At a meeting in Berne, the Swiss Abroad Organisation said the agreements and, primarily, the treaty on the free movement of people, provided a chance to level the playing field for Switzerland's youth. The president of the organisation, Georg Stucky, said the debate on the issue had too often and misleadingly focussed on workers from EU countries descending on Switzerland. He said it should not be forgotten that the 350,000 Swiss people already living in EU member states will be able to take advantage of the new mobility.

Representatives living in France and Germany spoke of difficulties, not only in finding jobs, but also in education and research projects. They also said Swiss pensioners wanting to retire in EU countries were disadvantaged.

Approval of the accords will also lead to a better co-ordination of social insurance schemes, according to the Swiss Abroad.

swissinfo with agencies

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