The Czech Foreign Ministry has criticized Switzerland’s decision to extend the validity of quotas for long-term residence permits granted to citizens from eight EU countries including the Czech Republic. In a statement issued on Thursday the Czech Foreign Ministry said the move was discriminatory and called for the matter to be addressed on a European level. The Swiss authorities announced the decision on Wednesday, bowing to growing unease about immigration from poorer neighbours.
The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also said she regretted the Swiss action, adding that it was contrary to the 1999 treaty signed with Switzerland on the free movement of people since the quotas differentiate between countries. Under the terms of the treaty non-EU Switzerland may invoke a "safeguard clause" which allows temporary caps on work permits if the annual influx exceeds a certain number.
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