Switzerland decides on Sunday whether to open its doors to the east. The country is preparing for a referendum on allowing access to its jobs market to workers from the new European Union countries.
It is argued immigrants from these mostly eastern European states could help the economy grow and become more dynamic.
Current polls suggest it will be a close call, with the ‘Yes’ camp holding a slight lead.
Far right politicians like Oskar Freysinger are deeply against it. “I’m completely (against), because we’d lose all democratic control on immigration. The only determining factor would be the market, so the Swiss labour market wouldn’t be protected anymore,” he said. The Swiss could make enemies in Brussels if they vote against giving eastern Europeans the right to work in their country.
The EU may respond to a no vote by withdrawing favourable trading rights.
“We already have too many foreigners in Switzerland, it’s enough,” said one man.
“They should come. And if there is work for them they’ll find it, and if there isn’t, they’ll go back home. I’m for it,” argued another man.
Referendums are held regularly in Switzerland, but with debate fierce, turnout on Sunday is predicted to be high.