BRUSSELS May 10 The European Commission said on
Wednesday it regretted the decision by Switzerland to limit
Bulgarian and Romanian citizens' access to the labour market for
the next 12 months.
"Today the Federal Council decided to invoke the clause
allowing for quantitative limitation of the free movement of
persons with respect to the new long term residence permits for
the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania," a spokeswoman said.
"The Protocol to the Agreement foresees the possibility to
use the clause for a period of 10 years after the entry into
force of the Protocol, as was done in the past for other Member
States. The Commission regrets this decision in light of the
overall decreasing trend in the number of requested residence
permissions by EU citizens," she said.
Free movement of workers between Switzerland and the
European Union is largely guaranteed through bilateral
agreements, although a so-called "safeguard clause" allows for
limits like those being adopted by Switzerland if the number of
people arriving exceeds certain levels.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)