The Swiss parliament has finally come up with what it hopes is a fix to the thorny issue of its electorate voting for limits to migration from the EU.
Democracies can be annoying, they have this pesky habit of voting for things.
In 2014, the Swiss people voted, in one of the country’s many referendums, for curbs on migration from the EU.
“Oh no you don’t“ said the EU, “not if you want to be part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), you don’t.”
So how could Swiss authorities reconcile the imperative of the Swiss people, with the need to bring in euros into Switzerland?
Swiss parliament has decided – or at least it is set to formally decide what appears to be a forgone conclusion today (16th December).
New rules mean that Swiss employers will have to advertise job vacancies in certain sectors in job Centres and interview Swiss applicants – but only in sectors where unemployment is above average – which in Switzerland is 3.3 per cent.
However, employers will not have justify a decision not to employ a Swiss local.
But EU workers who lose their jobs in Switzerland will have six months to leave the country.
To say that the Swiss parliament’s new rules are a watered down version of what the people voted for, is an understatement – they are a watered down version of watered down. But even so, the EU may conclude that they go against its requirement for free movement of labour. Will the EU tolerate such irascible behaviour? And if it does, might the UK try and push things a little further?