Nearly 600,000 Swiss live abroad - the majority of them in neighbouring EU countries. The main association looing after their interests says the bilateral accords will benefit Swiss expatriates and could lead to more Swiss going to live in EU countries.This content was published on May 21, 2000 - 18:22
Rudolf Wyder, president of the Secretariat for the Swiss Abroad, told swissinfo the result was very positive and would bring expatriate Swiss considerable benefits.
Among the imporovements he listed were that Swiss people living in EU states would have equal status with other Europeans after a brief transition period.
The accord on the free movement of people would, he said, lead to better access to the jobs market.
Wyder said the accords would also lead to increased opportunities for the self-employed and for Swiss residents under certain conditions. In addition, there would also be better recognition for Swiss professional diplomas.
However, he said one issue had not been resolved: free access to European universities.
Wyder also said he expected more Swiss to go to live in EU countries as a result of the accords. Two thirds of the Swiss abroad already live in other European countries, and Wyder said he expected this proportion to increase.
He described voters' approval of the bilateral accords as a way out of the "dead end" which Switzerland had been in since voters rejected membership of the European Economic Area in 1992.
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