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Europe warns Swiss of consequences after immigration vote

By Katharina Bart and Barbara Lewis ZURICH/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Switzerland could lose its privileged access to the European single market, European officials said on Monday, after Swiss voters narrowly backed proposals to curtail immigration from the EU in a referendum that has unsettled business.

Immigration vote tests Swiss ties with EU

Switzerland's ties with the European Union face a crunch test Sunday as voters decide whether to revive immigration quotas on EU citizens, in a referendum piloted by rightwing populists. The result could be close, with the latest poll indicating 43 percent back the "Stop Mass Immigration" proposal and 50 percent oppose it. Fiercely independent Switzerland is not in the EU but is ringed by members of the 28-nation bloc and exports most of its goods to it.

Swiss grapple with identity, economy in immigration vote

By Caroline Copley WINTERTHUR, Switzerland (Reuters) - Low taxes and good infrastructure aside, what entrepreneur Thorsten Schwenke really needs to grow his small Swiss-based business is the right people, regardless of their nationality. That's why he is so bewildered by a vote in Switzerland on February 9 on whether to impose restrictions on immigrants from the European Union, and by the proposal's increasing popularity in a country where foreign labor helped forge a powerful economy.

Improve the EU? Let it collapse, says France's Le Pen

The leader of France's far right National Front, which is expected to score well in upcoming European polls, pledged Thursday to do all in her power to facilitate the collapse of the EU. Marine Le Pen's National Front is just one of several anti-immigration and anti-EU parties gaining traction in Europe, where many have lost faith in the ability of the European Union to help resolve a devastating economic crisis.

Improve the EU? Let it collapse, says France's Le Pen

The leader of France's far right National Front, which is expected to score well in upcoming European polls, pledged Thursday to do all in her power to facilitate the collapse of the EU. Marine Le Pen's National Front is just one of several anti-immigration and anti-EU parties gaining traction in Europe, where many have lost faith in the ability of the European Union to help resolve a devastating economic crisis.

Swiss business groups warn against immigration quota plan

By Caroline Copley BERNE (Reuters) - Swiss business groups rallied together on Monday to reject a proposal to re-impose quotas on immigrants from European Union countries, warning the measure would exacerbate a shortage of skilled workers and damage firms' competitiveness. Despite the country's wealth and economic success, immigration is a hot-button issue in Switzerland where the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) has long blamed rising rents, crowded public transport and higher crime on an influx of foreigners.

Swiss business groups warn against immigration quota plan

By Caroline Copley BERNE (Reuters) - Swiss business groups rallied together on Monday to reject a proposal to re-impose quotas on immigrants from European Union countries, warning the measure would exacerbate a shortage of skilled workers and damage firms' competitiveness. Despite the country's wealth and economic success, immigration is a hot-button issue in Switzerland where the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) has long blamed rising rents, crowded public transport and higher crime on an influx of foreigners.

Austria's Freedom aims to enlarge Eurosceptic bloc

By Georgina Prodhan VIENNA (Reuters) - A core of six Eurosceptic parties is aiming to win over another four right-wing parties to create a new political group in the EU parliament, the leader of Austria's Freedom Party said. In the run up to May's EU-wide elections to the parliament, momentum is building to create a grouping of nationalist parties which would entitle members to more office space and support staff as well as EU funds for meetings and publicity.

Austrian centrist parties agree coalition

Austria's two main centrist parties said Thursday they have agreed to form another "grand coalition" government after narrowly winning a majority in their worst postwar election result on September 29. "We now have a result that we can present to our parties," said Michael Spindelegger, head of the conservative People's Party (OeVP) in a joint press conference with Social Democrat (SPOe) Chancellor Werner Faymann.

German states launch lonely bid to ban far-right NPD

By Erik Kirschbaum BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's 16 states launched a battle on Tuesday to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) after the federal government failed spectacularly a decade ago to outlaw a party its critics say shows an affinity for Hitler's Nazis. Fearing another court defeat, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government opted not to formally back the petition to the Constitutional Court to ban the NPD, which the domestic intelligence service has called "racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist".
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