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Asylum cooperation Switzerland to work more with EU on asylum issues

Helping hands? Swiss to work more closely with EU on asylum issues

(Keystone)

The Swiss parliament has approved a bill to collaborate with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

The office supports EU states that are struggling to accommodate and process asylum seekers. In its new role, Switzerland will be involved in all of EASO’s activities. However, it will not have the right to vote on operations; instead, it will remain an observer.

Participation will cost less than a million francs a year, according to the cabinet. On Thursday, the Senate approved the bill, which had already passed in the House of Representatives. Some parliamentarians, such as Peter Dryer from the conservative right Swiss People’s Party, argued that while cooperation was good, the cost and effort would outweigh the benefits.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga disagreed, saying that in was in Switzerland’s interest for EASO to function well. She noted that that Switzerland’s mere observer status was unsatisfactory, but that this was simply the result of not being in the EU.

Now that it’s passed both houses, the bill is ready for the final vote.

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