Switzerland

EU Related Referendums

In 1992 Switzerland had a referendum on the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) and in 2000 there was a referendum on the Bilateral Treaty with the EU.

The latest EU-related referendums were held in 2005 - one in June and another one in September. In June the Swiss people had to decide on Switzerland’s membership of the Schengen/Dublin Agreement. The outcome of the ballot was positive; 54,6 per cent accepted the agreement. In September the Swiss voters were asked to decide over the extension of the free movement of persons – part of the Bilateral Accords I – to the ten new EU Member States. The Federal Council and a clear majority of parliament agreed that the Swiss economy needed access to the new emerging markets in the former Eastern bloc and in southern Europe, and that the Swiss economy was dependent on foreign labour, also from the new EU Member States. Also, expansion of the free movement of persons agreement to the new EU Member States was considered to be a logical step within the ‘bilateral path’. Therefor, the referendum was in many ways also seen as a vote on the government’s policy on Europe. Thus, the people’s vote was met with great relief by the Federal Council and the great majority of parliament, as the proposal was given clear backing by 56 per cent of the voters.

Referendum on the Protocol of the Enlargement of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, 2005. NUTS 3

Sources

Milic, T. 2006. European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 45(7-8): 1275-1281

Swiss Statistics: http://www.bfs.admin.ch/