More than two out of three Swiss citizens prefer keeping the bilateral accords with the European Union according to an opinion poll. They said the re-introduction of immigration quotas should be scrapped despite a divisive nationwide vote more than ten months ago.
The survey, published in the Hebdo magazine, found that only 26% of those interviewed would give priority to the immigration caps at the expense of the bilateral treaties.
A slight majority of respondents are cautiously optimistic that the Swiss government will find a compromise with the 28-nation bloc in negotiations on future bilateral ties, the survey says.
The Lausanne-based economic and social research institute, MIS trend, polled 1,349 citizens in Switzerland’s three main language regions. The margin of error is 2.7%.
No further technical details of the survey were given.
In February, Swiss voters narrowly approved a proposal to re-introduce immigration quotas for EU citizens, putting an additional strain on bilateral relations between Brussels and Switzerland.
The initiative by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party effectively calls for a suspension of the free movement of people principle – a key policy tenet of the EU. Observers say the move also jeopardizes a series of major accords with Switzerland’s main trading partner.
In November, a separate proposal by ecologists to cap annual immigration to 0.2% of net population growth was overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box.
The government is due to announce a mandate next month for planned negotiations with Brussels on future bilateral ties.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch and agencies