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Federal Minister Steinmeier welcomes result of the Swiss referendum on free movement of persons

08.02.2009 - Press release

In today's referendum (Sunday, 8 February) in Switzerland a majority of voters approved the extension of the country's Free Movement of Persons Agreement with the EU as well as its application to Bulgaria and Romania.

In this connection Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued in Berlin today (8 February) the following statement:

"I welcome the clearcut result of today's referendum in Switzerland on the free movement of persons.

I am pleased that the hitherto temporary arrangements concerning freedom of residence and employment between the EU and Switzerland can now be extended for an indefinite period.

Today's vote will encourage everyone committed to further rapprochement and even closer ties between the EU and Switzerland. The German Government, too, will continue to actively work for the expansion of these relations."

Together with other agreements in the field of transport, research and agriculture, the Free Movement of Persons Agreement between the EU and Switzerland was concluded initially for a period of seven years.

The Agreement provides for the reciprocal and step-by-step opening of the Swiss and EU labour markets. Following a transitional period, Swiss nationals and EU nationals may take up residence or employment in all States parties subject to the same conditions. They are required to have, in addition to health insurance cover, a valid employment contract, be self-employed or to prove that they are in possession of adequate financial means.

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