The European Union has hit back at Switzerland’s support for tougher rules on asylum seekers. The issue was put to a nationwide referendum and gives the Alpine state some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe. Much of Switzerland’s political right campaigned for the changes arguing refugees were abusing the system.
Their message seems to have got across as the proposals were given nearly 68 percent support. Now, asylum seekers will have to present a valid passport within 48 hours. The EU has argued that rejecting applications on the grounds of lack of ID is not necessarily fair.
Socialist Swiss Member of Parliament Maria Roth Bernasconi said the vote was a failure for the Radical party and the Christian Democrats who supported the initiative. “They made a mistake,” she added. “They think the issue is settled now, but that’s not true. I regret that those parties played the game, putting to one side the values of humanity and openness which are important for Switzerland.”
Despite the strong support for the new rules, a demonstration was held in Zurich last night to denounce them. Protesters said Switzerland should be ashamed of itself.