The Swiss people will be heading to the polls on the 17th May in a controversial referendum  that could see it leaving both the Schengen Area as well as the Dublin Regulation. This would strike another major blow to the European Union (EU), as this would happen just months after Britain left the trading block in January. If voters vote yes, it will see an end to free movement between Switzerland and the rest of the EU (which the Swiss are not a member of).

Switzerland has direct-democracy embedded into their system of government, which results in there being referendums on everything from the UBI (Universal Basic Income) to banning minarets (they voted no and yes, respectively). This recent referendum initiative has been brought forward by the country’s largest party, the right-wing, nationalist, populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which has a successful history of prompting referendums on both international agreements and migration. 

Switzerland has been in the Schengen Area since 2007 and has over 2.1 million immigrants in the country (25% of the total), with net immigration of 55,000 a year.

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