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Poll shows Swiss parliament against "Yes to Europe" initiative

Swiss parliamentarians will debate the "Yes to Europe" initiative on June 22

(Keystone)

A majority of Switzerland's members of parliament support the government's counter-proposal to the "Yes to Europe" initiative to speed up the country's entry into the European Union.

But there are differences in the levels of support between the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Those are the findings of a poll published on Saturday by the French langauge daily newspaper "Le Temps". It says that sixty per cent of the members of the House of Representatives polled, agree with the cabinet's counter-proposal, which underlines the government's long-term aim of Switzerland joining the EU, but rejects any attempt to force it into bringing forward its timetable.

But the paper says there is a large minority in favour of the initiative, with over 48 per cent of respondents saying they want to set a date for resuming negotiations with the EU.

In the Senate 63 per cent of those who took part in the poll said they were against any changes in Switzerland's official policy towards entering the EU. They also opposed the government's policy of making EU membership one of Switzerland's long-term goals.

Of the 246 members of parliament, 147 took part in the survey.

The "Yes to Europe" initiative proposes that Switzerland begin immediate talks on joining the EU. On Wednesday, the government said that parliament should decide whether the initiative should be put to a nationwide vote.

Parliament is expected to debate the issue on June 22

swissinfo with agencies

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