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EU FLag

Switzerland has just voted in a close-run referendum to end the free movement of people and reintroduce immigration quotas.

Aside from envying a country whose people actually get a direct democratic say on matters of national importance, this sparks a process which British eurosceptics ought to watch closely.

The effect of the vote is essentially to sever Switzerland’s current relationship with the EU. Brussels warned throughout the referendum campaign against the assumption that Switzerland could pick and choose which EU freedoms it wished to enjoy – which is a thinly veiled threat of trade barriers.

While it isn’t a withdrawal, as Switzerland has never been an EU member, we will now be able to get an inkling of how the Eurocrats might deal with a country which chooses not to be part of their project. Will they cut off their economic nose to spite their face, blocking or taxing Swiss goods and services to prove a petty political point? Or will they negotiate a new relationship so as not to lose out on Swiss business?

It will be instructive to watch what happens.

64 comments for: Switzerland votes to end free movement of people from the EU

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