Monday, 21 April 2014

Prague protests against Swiss quotas

26 April 2013

Prague, April 25 (CTK) - Czech diplomacy yesterday criticised the Swiss government's decision to extend the controversial quotas for long-term residence permits granted to citizens from eight EU countries, including the Czech Republic.

The Swiss decision is discriminatory, the Czech Foreign Ministry told CTK.

Switzerland, which decided on the quotas on Wednesday, also said it would introduce similar limits for citizens from all other EU member states as of May 1 that wouldbe valid for at least one year.

The Czech Republic would like to solve the problem on European level.

"The Czech Republic regrets the Swiss government's decision very much. We consider the measure discriminatory, it runs counter to the agreements with the EU on free movement of people. Its character causes a problem on European level and this is why we will be solving it accordingly," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Johana Grohova said.

The EU expressed regret at the Swiss decision.

A Swiss long-term residence permit granted for five years enables its holders to work legally in Switzerland.

Switzerland decided to protect its labour market from citizens of eight central and eastern European countries, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, a year ago.

On Wednesday, the Swiss Federal Council decided to preserve the quotas. Besides, as from May similar restrictions will apply to all EU members.

Switzerland allocated 2180 residence permits for "new" EU members for the following year and 53,700 permit for another 17 EU countries.

Though Switzerland is not an EU member, it has joined the Schengen area and signed agreements on free movement of people with EU countries.

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