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Right attacks government over EU policy

People's Party president Ueli Maurer warned against criminal foreigners Keystone

The rightwing Swiss People’s Party has called on the government to withdraw an application for full membership of the European Union.

This content was published on April 2, 2005 - 15:35

The party president reiterated that the Schengen/Dublin accords on closer security and asylum cooperation would attract criminal foreigners to Switzerland.

Delegates meeting in the resort of Interlaken on Saturday approved a resolution demanding that the government formally drop a 1992 request for negotiations with Brussels on Swiss membership of the EU.

They said the withdrawal was necessary to boost Switzerland’s credibility in negotiations on bilateral accords with the EU.

The request was effectively frozen in the mid-1990s pending negotiations on a raft of bilateral accords.

The government has said it will review its European policy by the end of 2007.

The party president, Ueli Maurer, warned that a bilateral accord on closer ties with EU member states on asylum and police matters would lead to more unemployment - which currently stands at 4.1 per cent - in Switzerland.

Maurer told delegates that the Schengen/Dublin agreements were undermining Switzerland’s basic democratic rights and the country’s sovereignty.

Challenge

Senior People’s Party officials also criticised the government and parliament for failing to curb public spending and keep tax levels low.

They said voters should have the final say on controversial measures by the Swiss Senate to further tighten asylum regulations.

However, the Federal Court ruled against a decision aimed at denying emergency aid to rejected asylum seekers as a means to force them to leave Switzerland.

The Schengen/Dublin accords have already been approved by the cabinet and parliament last year. Three of the four main political parties have also come out in favour.

But the People’s Party, the biggest group in parliament, handed in enough signatures last Thursday to force a nationwide vote on June 5.

It is due to formally launch its campaign next Tuesday.

The Schengen/Dublin accords are part of a second set of bilateral treaties between Switzerland and Brussels.

A first series of agreements – covering mainly labour, trade and transport – came into force in 2002.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The rightwing People’s Party is the biggest group in the Swiss parliament, ahead of the centre-left Social Democrats, and the centre-right Radicals and the Christian Democrats.
It collected enough signatures for a nationwide vote on the Schengen/Dublin accords with the EU already approved by the cabinet and parliament last year.
The campaign ahead of the ballot on June 5 is due to be formally launched next Tuesday.

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