Swiss voters have decided to continue allowing in workers from the EU as well as extending access to two new member states, Romania and Bulgaria. Referendum results showed that almost 60 per cent of voters supported the proposal.
A finer breakdown of the voting reveals that 59.6 had backed the deal. Under the reciprocal terms of the arrangement Swiss workers also have access to EU countries.
The vote in favour, which ultimately proved more decisive than recent polls had predicted, came after a fierce campaign in which right-wing politicians had warned that extending access could force Swiss workers out of their jobs during a recession. Supporters of the government's proposal to extend access, on the other hand, had argued that free movement rules had helped attract skilled workers to Switzerland.
Only three small German-speaking cantons and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino voted against the pact, with the other 22 French and German-speaking cantons in favour.