Croatian and Switzerland had initially agreed terms for the free movement of workers between the two countries, but the Swiss have backed down after a referendum last weekend invalidated the Swiss-EU pact on freedom of movement. The Swiss voted narrowly in favour of strict quotas for immigration from EU countries, which now means the deal with Croatia which was agreed has fallen in the water.
The Swiss are concerned immigration will have an effect on their economy and the result of the referendum had concerned EU leaders, who now threaten Switzerland with sanctions. With a population of around 8 million, only 12% of Swiss citizens have an immigrant background and they enjoy a very low unemployment rate – 3.2%, compared to the EU average of more than 10%.
France, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom all exercised the right to put restrictions on workers from Croatia when they joined the EU in July last year.