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Survey shows support for open borders

Cars crossing into Germany from Switzerland are subjected to checks by German police Keystone

Two-thirds of Swiss approve of Switzerland ratifying the Schengen/Dublin treaty on closer security cooperation with the European Union, a survey has found.

This content was published on January 23, 2005 - 11:27

But only a slight majority are in favour of extending a treaty on the free movement of people to the ten new EU member states.

The electorate may be called to vote on the two issues later this year.

In the first poll of public opinion on extending a treaty on the free movement of people, 52 per cent said they were in favour. Thirty per cent said they were against, while 18 per cent were undecided.

At the same time, 65 per cent expressed support for Switzerland joining Schengen/Dublin – a slight drop on the 63 per cent approval recorded in a survey last month. Fourteen per cent were against, while 21 per cent were undecided.

The survey of 1,005 people was conducted by the Isopublic research institute and published in the SonntagsBlick newspaper.

Referendums

Parliament last year approved the two accords as part of a second package of bilateral treaties with the EU.

But opponents have launched campaigns to hold referendums on the two issues. If the necessary 50,000 signatures are gathered in time, the Swiss will be called to vote on Schengen/Dublin on June 5, and on the free movement of people on September 25.

A small majority of those questioned – 51 per cent – said they agreed with the government’s decision to split the two votes. Only 13 per cent disapproved, while 36 per cent expressed no opinion.

The government said it wanted to avoid any confusion between the two issues in voters’ minds, but the rightwing People’s Party accused it of trying to manipulate the vote.

Of those opposed to the extension of the free movement of people, 15 per cent said they were concerned about wage dumping or cheap labour pouring into the country, 12 per cent were worried that it would lead to more unemployment, and the same number again feared a rise in crime.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The Swiss will only be called to vote on Schengen/Dublin and the extension of an accord on the free movement of peoples if opponents gather the 50,000 signatures needed by the end of March.
Opposition to Schengen is led by the rightwing Swiss People's Party and the Campaign for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland.
Both rightwing and leftwing parties are campaigning for referendums on the extension of the free movement of peoples accord.

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In brief

Schengen includes measures to lift border controls and improve cross-border security.

Dublin concerns asylum. In the EU, asylum seekers can file a request for asylum in one country only.

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