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Parliament decides on EU accord

Parliament has agreed on how it will present proposals to Swiss voters on modifying a key bilateral accord with the European Union.

This content was published on June 12, 2008 - 11:41

The plan to prolong the free movement of people treaty as well as extending the accord to the EU's two newest members, Romania and Bulgaria, will be presented to the electorate in a single package.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in approving a motion to combine the two issues.

They will be put to the electorate next year.

The rightwing Swiss People's Party, which favours lengthening the treaty duration but is opposed to extending the accord to Bulgaria and Romania, wanted the issues to be put to two separate votes.

The government also favoured two votes even though it wants to see both issues approved.

The agreement on the free movement of people has been in force with the 15 "old" EU countries since 2002.

Voters agreed in 2004 to extend the right to the ten new member states.

The agreement lasts until 2009. It will be prolonged automatically by the EU, but in Switzerland continuation is subject to a referendum.

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