Five questions have been put to a national referendum, which will be held on Sunday in Switzerland. Citizens are invited to express an opinion on the legislative initiative aimed at limiting the inflow of labor from the EU countries, the allocation of credit for the purchase of new combat aircraft, the new law on hunting, as well as to approve or reject the laws on the introduction of two-week paternity leave at birth and tax benefits for families with children.
5.4 million citizens aged 18 years and over are eligible to participate in the referendum. Many of them have already taken advantage of the opportunity to vote by mail, as provided by law.
Central to the referendum, judging by the number of political debates and publications in the press, is the denunciation of the agreement with the EU on the free movement of workers. It was concluded in 1999 in a package of other agreements that are key to Switzerland's relationship with its main trading partner, the European Union.
The conservative Swiss People's Party (SNP), which has the largest electoral base in the country, voted in favor of the proportional immigration law initiative. The aim is to return Switzerland, which is very attractive for EU immigrants because of its high wages and low unemployment, to the right to regulate labor migration independently and to reduce the pressure of foreign workers on the labor market and wages, to ease the burden on the social security system. The constitution will be amended to prohibit agreements with Brussels on the free settlement of EU citizens in Switzerland.
This initiative was strongly opposed by the government, the majority of MPs, and all other major parties. They believe that renouncing an agreement with the EU on the free movement of workers will disrupt the remaining package documents. This has the potential to introduce barriers to Swiss exports in the European Union and, as a result, huge losses to the economy.