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Immigration vote has cast shadow over Swiss economy

Swiss-based food giant Nestle warned on Thursday that a vote to rein in immigration by EU citizens had cast a shadow over the Alpine country's economy. "Recent political decisions, notably the referendum (on February 9) on immigration, have led us into a period of uncertainty," Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck told the group's annual general meeting. "I won't hide the fact that there's now a degree of uncertainty concerning the mid-term development of the Swiss economy," he said in a speech to shareholders.

Swiss economy minister wants to save bilateral agreements with EU

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's economy minister wants to save bilateral agreements with the European Union, at risk after Switzerland voted to curb immigration from the bloc three weeks ago, he told a Swiss newspaper on Sunday. "We have to reconcile the popular vote and the free movement of persons, also in order to save the bilateral agreements," Johann Schneider-Ammann told the SonntagsZeitung in an interview.

Swiss minister says EU threats over immigration overblown

By Caroline Copley ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's defense minister said it was "unthinkable" that his country's accords with the European Union would be terminated as result of a referendum to curb immigration, saying threats of retaliation by the bloc were overblown. Swiss voters this month narrowly backed a proposal to curtail immigration, a move that could violate a free movement of citizens pact with the 28-member bloc that came into force in 2002.

Brussels suspends Swiss deals after Bern nixes Croatia accord

Brussels said Sunday it had suspended Swiss participation in EU research and education programmes after Bern called off a deal opening market access to Croatia. The EU's newest member, Croatia is the first victim of Swiss plans to curb immigration from other countries in the bloc, a move narrowly approved in a February 9 referendum. "Given the circumstances and in the absence of a clear political signal to do so, upcoming negotiation rounds have been postponed until Switzerland signs" the Croatia deal, European Commission spokesman Joe Hennon told AFP.

Swiss want to keep EU deals despite immigration vote

The Swiss overwhelmingly want to hold on to a string of deals with the European Union despite voting last week to curb immigration from the bloc, a poll published Sunday showed. A full 74 percent of people surveyed said they were opposed to ripping up the agreements, which cover everything from free movement of people to air traffic to trade barriers, according to the poll in the Sonntags Blick newspaper.

After immigration vote, Swiss have to rework Croatia labor deal

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland has told the newest European Union member, Croatia, that it will not be able to sign a labor market pact as planned on July 1, following a shock referendum vote in favor of immigration curbs. The pact is the second casualty of last week's narrow vote to curtail immigration from the EU, after talks on a cross-border electricity agreement between the bloc and Switzerland were put on hold this week.

Switzerland nixes deal with Croatia on free labour access

Switzerland has declined to sign a deal opening labour market access to Croatians, a week after a vote to curb immigration from the EU, the justice ministry said Saturday. Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga called Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic to inform her that Bern would not be able to sign a bilateral accord extending the right of free access to Switzerland for EU citizens to the bloc's newest member state "in its current form," a ministry spokesman said.

Swiss vote to curb EU migrants sparks warnings

Switzerland's knife-edge decision to curb immigration from the EU raises major problems, heavyweight Germany warned Monday, as Swiss authorities moved to limit the damage to ties with the 28-nation bloc. As both sides mulled the fallout from Sunday's referendum in which 50.3 percent of voters decided to void a pact giving equal footing to European Union citizens in the Swiss labour market, Germany said resolving the issue would be an uphill task. Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Berlin respected the result.

Swiss vote to curb EU migrants sparks warnings

Switzerland's knife-edge decision to curb immigration from the EU raises major problems, heavyweight Germany warned Monday, as Swiss authorities moved to limit the damage to ties with the 28-nation bloc. As both sides mulled the fallout from Sunday's referendum in which 50.3 percent of voters decided to void a pact giving equal footing to European Union citizens in the Swiss labour market, Germany said resolving the issue would be an uphill task. Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Berlin respected the result.

Swiss markets hold up despite vote clouding EU links

Swiss financial markets took a shock vote restricting immigration with the European Union in their stride on Monday although analysts warned it could have a major impact on the economy. Sunday's referendum throws into question other economic agreements with the EU, which is Switzerland's biggest trading partner. The Swiss franc, which the central bank held down at the height of the eurozone debt crisis, firmed slightly to 1.2238 to the euro from 1.2239 late on Friday.
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