Landmark Swiss vote on restraint of mass immigration from EU

By Felix Egli and Wu Fan, Vischer

On 9 February 2014, the Swiss people and cantons adopted an amendment to the constitution designed to reduce the massive unbridled immigration from the European Union (EU) that started about six years ago.

Felix Egli 菲谢尔律师事务所 高级合伙人、中国业务部主管 Senior Partner, Head of China Desk VISCHER
Felix Egli
Senior Partner, Head of China Desk

A storm in a teacup

This EU-critical landmark vote passed with an extremely narrow majority of only 19,526 votes, or 0.6% of all votes cast (50.3% Yes against 49.7% No). Its widely unexpected outcome upset the EU, which warned Switzerland against implementing the new constitutional law in a manner non-compliant with the EU/Swiss treaty on free movement of persons. Some EU politicians even threatened that the EU might exercise its right to terminate all bilateral treaties integrating Switzerland in the EU market should one of them – including the treaty on free movement of persons – be breached.

As we realised that the 9 February popular vote created some misunderstanding on the part of Chinese investors and traders, we decided to dedicate this column to the removal of such misunderstanding.

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Felix Egli is the senior partner and head of the China Desk at Vischer; Wu Fan is a counsel on Vischer’s China Desk


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