Swiss, EU agree to extend free movement deal to Croat workers

Switzerland and the European Union have signed a deal to include Croatia in an agreement on the free movement of workers.

The deal doesn't change anything for Croatian workers, but Switzerland gets an opportunity to continue to take part in the EU research programme Horizon 2020.

Switzerland and the EU Initialled the Agreement on the Free Movement of People (AFMP) on July 15, 2013, two weeks after Croatian entered the bloc. The agreement regulated the transitional period of 10 years during which the number of permits for Croats is systematically increasing. Upon the expiration of the ten year period, Croats will be granted full freedom of movement in Switzerland, just as other EU citizens.

However, on 9 February 2014 Swiss citizens voted in favour of immigration restrictions so Switzerland declined to sign the protocol covering workers from Croatia, citing the binding referendum on curbing immigration.

The European Commission then decided to suspend negotiations on Switzerland's participation in the 80 billion euro Horizon 2020 programme and the Erasmus student exchange programme.

Switzerland then decided to unilaterally implement the initialled agreement, but without signing it.

On 5 December 2014, the European Union decided to sign the agreement with Switzerland, which enables that country to partially take part in Horizon 2020 until the end of 2016. Switzerland was then told that the extension of its participation in Horizon 2020 would be conditional on whether or not Bern would sign the initialled agreement.

Last update: Thu, 14/07/2016 - 10:24

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