Proposal on new immigration limit rejected in Swiss referendum



Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal designed to introduce new immigration limit in the name of environment protection in referendum held on Sunday.

As one of three issues on Sunday's nationwide ballot, the so-called Ecopop initiative, which appealed to preserve the natural environment of the Alpine nation through limiting annual immigration to just 0.2 percent of the country's permanent resident population, got dismissed in the vote.

According to vote results, all Swiss cantons and some 74 percent of voters said No to the proposal.

Switzerland's major political parties, employers and unions were against the move, calling for voters to reject the initiative, criticizing it as xenophobic and warning it would hurt Swiss economy that depends heavily on immigrant labor.

Official statistics showed that nearly a quarter of the 8.1 million inhabitants in Switzerland are foreigners, and skilled immigrants have proved as an essential support of its economic growth.

This was not the first time that the issue of immigration got written on a vote ballot in Switzerland. The previous one named "Stop Mass Immigration" got approved in a Swiss referendum held in February, which required to enact quotas for people from the European Union and hence tensed the landlocked European country's relations with the 28-country bloc.

Even Christoph Blocher, vice president of the Swiss People's Party that has led the February immigration vote, told media that Ecopop went too far and was dangerous. Enditem