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EU to assess ties after Swiss back migrant curbs

The European Commission said it would assess EU ties with Switzerland after the Alpine country voted Sunday to limit immigration from the European Union, its biggest trading partner by far.

BRUSSELS: The European Commission said it would assess EU ties with Switzerland after the Alpine country voted Sunday to limit immigration from the European Union, its biggest trading partner by far.

"The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole," said a statement after Swiss results showed a narrow victory for a proposal pushed by right-wing populists.

The European Commission said it "regrets" the Swiss vote, which "goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland."

Although Switzerland is not an EU member, it signed onto the EU accord for free movement of citizens in 1999 and implemented it from 2002.

While Sunday's vote focused only on that issue, fall-out from the result could imperil Switzerland's trade with the big European bloc, which its economy depends on. Brussels has already made it clear that Bern cannot cherry-pick among EU advantages.

An estimated 400,000 Swiss citizens live in the EU, many of them dual nationals, while more than a million EU citizens currently live in Switzerland.

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