Switzerland Finally Makes Croatian Nationals Equal to Other EU Citizens

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Swiss government has given approval to measures which will make Croatian citizens equal to other EU nationals regarding freedom of movement in the country.


The Swiss government has given green light to measures which will make Croatian citizens equal to other citizens of the European Union with regards to the freedom of movement in that country, announced on Friday Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier.

“The Swiss government has completed its legislative procedure and has given the green light and accepted the equal status for Croatian citizens which will now be in the same position as all other citizens of the European Union with regards to the freedom of movement in Switzerland”, said Minister Stier at a press conference in Zagreb.

“This was an issue which we tried to solve for a long time. Today, the Swiss government announced this positive decision and we welcome it”, said the Croatian Minister.

Switzerland on Friday approved a law aimed at curbing immigration, which provides for local residents to have priority in employment and which bypassed the request of voters for the introduction of quotas, which was expressed at a referendum which took place in 2014 and which brought into question a number of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union.

The majority in the Swiss parliament did not want to risk a fight with the European Union, since the Union is the largest Swiss trade partner and the Union was in a position to make revenge with the cancellation of several other bilateral agreements that facilitate trade in sectors which bring Switzerland about seven percent of economic output every year.

The adoption of the law has allowed Switzerland to extend the free movement of people principle to Croatia, the newest member of the European Union.

The issue of status of Croatian citizens in Switzerland was unresolved since 1 July 2013, when Croatia became a member of the European Union.

UPDATE – New measure since 2017:  

Since 2017, compared to the other EU citizens and in general, Croatians as an EU nation are under strict quota mechanism of few L work permits and even fewer B permits in Switzerland. For those in Switzerland, the system implies seven year long toxic path of uncertainty (L, L, B)  until reaching C work permit, regardless of employment contract or education level. L is short or one year work permit and B is 5 year work permit. On the L-L-B path overall there is less B permits than L permits, making it all more like a roulette system than a basic right to work and stay from the beginning. 

Croatia entered the EU in 2013 and an infamous Swiss anti-immigration vote happened. Brussels, Switzerland and Croatia agreed on this temporary quota solution in 2017 thanks to which Switzerland got back access in the Horizon Program funding ever since they were frozen from in 2014 by the EC. Current complex negotiations between Switzerland and Brussels on EU stock market access and freedom of movement are making Switzerland again under the loop of the EC. No matter situation in 2019, Croatia will run presidency of the EU Council in first half of 2020, what will open new possibilities for Croatia to reshape EU and standpoints to other lands like Switzerland. 



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