Following on from the results of their national election, which saw the anti-immigration Swiss People”s party (SVP) win the largest proportion of seats in the Swiss lower house, a study conducted by the Swiss Cities Association has confirmed that immigration from the European Union has benefited the Swiss economy.
Between 2002 and 2008, the Swiss economy grew by 3.2%. The association have stated that this growth would not have occurred were it not for the free movement of people created by the bilateral agreement with the EU. The study highlights that immigration into Switzerland has coincided with an economic need in the country, and that the number of foreign specialists that have entered the state have helped to stabilise the economy.
Currently around a quarter of the Swiss population do not hold a Swiss passport. In February 2014, Swiss voters backed an initiative to limit the number of EU citizens allowed into the country. However the study has concluded that EU immigration has been well integrated in Switzerland as a whole. Zurich Mayor, Corine Mauch, has warned that implementation of the 2014 initiative could cause great damage to the positive outcomes that have been formed by EU immigration in the previous decade.
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