European Union countries have reacted with dismay at the results of a Swiss referendum which narrowly backed reintroducing immigration quotas with the E.U.
Final results for Sunday’s vote showed 50.3% of Swiss voters in favor of the quota. It invalidates an agreement between Switzerland and the E.U. on the freedom of movement of E.U. citizens, one of the core principles of the bloc.
Both the French and German foreign ministers said the vote would cause Switzerland problems, reports the BBC. The European Commission, the executive arm of the E.U., said it regretted the vote results and would look into its implications. “The single market is not a Swiss cheese,” warned E.U. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “You cannot have a single market with holes in it.”
Switzerland has the second highest foreign population in Europe. E.U. citizens have had the right to access the Swiss job market and enjoy freedom of movement in Switzerland since 2007, despite it not being an E.U. member state.
The right-wing Swiss People’s Party, which spearheaded the vote, believes its quotas will relieve what it claims are pressures on housing, health, education, jobs and transport from immigration.