In response to the Federal Council’s announcement about the easing of travel and employment restrictions as of June 8th, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP / UDC) said on its website that it “demands the maintenance of strict border controls”.
“The decision to restore the free movement of people and to abolish border controls is an affront to the Swiss who find themselves unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic”, the SVP said in a press release.
It added that even though “almost two million people, more than a third of all Swiss workers, are on short-time work and more than 150,000 have lost their jobs, the Federal Council wants to bring even more foreign workers into Switzerland”.
It goes on to argue that “following the sharp increase in unemployment in all neighbouring countries, Switzerland will inevitably suffer an additional influx of immigrants that cannot be arrested because of the free movement of people”.
“In addition, the number of people entering Switzerland illegally will again increase due to the opening of borders”, the SVP said.
Even before the latest government announcement about the re-opening of borders, the SVP, the largest of Switzerland’s political parties, had been campaigning for the end of the Swiss-EU agreement on free movement of people, and against immigration in general.
In its press release, the party reiterated its long-held position that foreigners “have come to settle in our small country to work or take advantage of our social system”.
On September 27, the Swiss will vote on the SVP-sponsored initiative, seeking to curb EU immigration into Switzerland and allowing Switzerland to set its own migration quotas.
The referendum was originally scheduled to be held on May 17th, but had to be postponed until September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.