The 8th of February 2009, Swiss voters have decided to continue allowing in workers from the EU as well as extending access to two new member states, Romania and Bulgaria. Referendum results showed that almost 60 per cent of voters supported the proposal. A referendum is the submission of a law, proposed or already in effect, to a direct vote of the people, as in superseding or overruling the legislature. It is one of the characteristics of Switzerland which gives the chance to decide to citizens an other one is the “initiative”.
A finer breakdown of the voting reveals that 59.6 had backed the deal. Under the reciprocal terms of the arrangement Swiss workers also have access to EU countries.
The vote in favour, which ultimately proved more decisive than recent polls had predicted, came after a fierce campaign in which right-wing politicians had warned that extending access could cause a miss of job places for Swiss during a recession. This campaign had been critiqued because of scandalous advertises where the foreigners where showed as black sheeps kicked out of the country. Supporters of the government’s proposal to extend access, on the other hand, had argued that free movement rules had showed a massive arrival of high-skilled workers from all Europe.
Only three small German-speaking cantons and the Italian-speaking canton of “Ticino” voted against the pact, with the other 22 French and German-speaking cantons in favour.