A group of citizens from Zurich has launched a people’s initiative calling for a ten-year moratorium on negotiations for Switzerland to join the European Union.
Supporters, who come from the centre-right, now have till May 2012 to collect the required minimum of 100,000 signatures to put it to a nationwide vote.
The initiative has been formulated in general terms, which means if supported by both houses of parliament, it will be their job to draw up a revision of the constitution and put it to a vote of Swiss citizens and cantons.
If parliament rejects the initiative, it will be put to a vote of the people and if accepted, parliament will work out the project demanded by the initiative.
The Swiss have several times rejected moves to join the EU or a bid to withdraw a shelved application request but have approved wide-ranging bilateral treaties that regulate ties with Brussels.
The government recently stated its priority for bilateral accords but held on to EU membership as an option.
swissinfo.ch and agencies