Swiss voters have backed a referendum giving Bulgarians and Romanians the same rights to work in the country as other EU citizens.
Official results show more than 59 percent of voters backed the deal. Voters were asked to decide whether existing bilateral treaties covering 25 EU member states should be renewed and whether to extend access to new bloc members Bulgaria and Romania. Despite the ‘Yes’ vote the election campaign was marred by controversy. An image of three black ravens picking at a map of Switzerland was used by the far right Swiss People’s Party in its ‘No’ campaign, drawing accusations of xenophobia. For those in favour, the ‘Yes’ is a big victory. A ‘No’ would have resulted in agreements with the EU on trade, transport and agriculture being declared null and void. Since 2002 tens of thousands of foreign nationals have poured into Switzerland from the EU, filling jobs in areas such as construction and farming and driving the country’s recent economic boom.