Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), spoke earlier today with representatives of various EU member states about the consultations between Switzerland and the EU to find a solution on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. His meetings with foreign ministers Laurent Fabius (France), Paolo Gentiloni (Italy) and Witold Waszczykowski (Poland) focused on the possibility of introducing a mutually agreed safeguard clause to resolve the issue of how to manage immigration to Switzerland. Such a solution would respect both the Swiss Federal Constitution and the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the EU. "It would ensure the preservation of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons and restore legal certainty. This is very significant for both sides", said Mr Burkhalter.
The Federal Council's objective is to achieve more effective management of immigration and at the same time to safeguard and further develop the bilateral approach. In addition to trying to find a solution concerning the free movement of persons as soon as possible, the Federal Council is therefore continuing to hold talks on unresolved questions relating to the institutional agreement as well as negotiations on other pending dossiers.
Mr Burkhalter also explained to his counterparts the Federal Council's decision to introduce a unilateral safeguard clause for citizens from the EU and EFTA if no mutually agreed solution can be found with the EU by the end of February 2016.
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