Zagreb - Switzerland's decision to introduce immigration quotas for workers from the European Union is contrary to European standards, Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said after talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Mihail Mikov in Zagreb on Monday.
-I believe that Croatia and Bulgaria can act together in the EU regarding that problem. We advocate a Europe of open borders, which is how Europe describes itself, and a common market. Switzerland has accepted EU standards and its decision is contrary to those standards, Leko said, adding that Bulgaria did not have restrictions for Croatian workers and that this "will facilitate our joint action in the EU aimed at protecting EU principles“.
Addressing reporters, Mikov said that without free movement of people there could be no free movement of capital. -Using what is seemingly the most democratic formula - referendum - we have reached an undemocratic decision, said Mikov.
In the February 9 referendum, the Swiss decided by a narrow majority to introduce immigration quotas for workers from the European Union. The Swiss Justice Ministry said on Sunday that Bern would therefore not be able to sign in its present form the agreement on expanding free access to the Swiss labour market to include Croatian citizens. Brussels responded promptly by suspending talks on Switzerland's participation in the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme and Erasmus student exchange programme.
Leko and Mikov agreed during their meeting that Croatian-Bulgarian relations were very good and that Croatia's accession to the EU on July 1, 2013 had created new cooperation possibilities. They also said that the two countries were interested in the EU's open door policy and EU membership prospects for southeast European countries. The two countries share the same views and interests also when it comes to the Danube Initiative, Leko said, adding that Croatia is interested in Bulgaria's experience in activities in the EU and creation of EU policies, as well as in its experience in meeting conditions for access to the Schengen area of free movement. (Hina)