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Alternative Market Briefing

Swiss vote on immigration may not affect the Swiss financial services industry significantly

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva:

Swiss voters on Sunday approved a restriction on immigration and a return of tighter quotas, overturning the Swiss-EU agreement on freedom of movement; the country must now renegotiate this treaty with the European Union.

In fact, Switzerland can expect all of its treaties with the EU to be reviewed, Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, was reported as saying.

"You can’t take advantage of a big European internal market and stay outside in other questions at the same time," he stated. "This is what we have to discuss with Switzerland now."

Indeed, Switzerland, although not a member of the European Union, had adopted large sections of EU policy through bilateral agreements, which took years of negotiation to achieve. It is thought that forsaking free movement could eventually limit its access to the single market.

According to the BBC, last year 80,000 new immigrants arrived in Switzerland, and foreigners now make up 23% of the population. The small alpine country is the second highest foreign population after Luxembourg.

What will the new immigration quota mean for the Swiss financial industry?

Back to pre-EU treaties Some insiders believe it is really too early to s......................

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