DIPLOMACY Social SOCIAL & HEALTH

Switzerland activates safeguard clause applicable to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens.Secretary of State Ciamba, Swiss official discuss Romanians’ access to this country’s labour market

Secretary of State with Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) George Ciamba on Wednesday had a telephone conversation with Secretary of State with the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation Pascale Baerswyl, on the topic of the access of Romanian citizens to the Swiss labour market.

According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) release, during the meeting, it was communicated the decision of the Swiss Federal Council of activating the safeguard clause applicable to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, provided in Protocol II of the EU-Switzerland Agreement on Free Movement of Persons.

MAE shows that this measure is valid one year, with the possibility of renewal in 2018 until 31 May 2019.

The release shows that the adopted measure exclusively aims at releasing new type B stay permits (1 to 5 year stay) and doesn’t restrict the type L permit release (under one year stay), or type C (settling permits not regulated under the aforementioned agreement), or the extension of the already released type B permits.

MAE points out that the Swiss official showed that the measure doesn’t single out Romania, as Switzerland applied it in 2012 for new EU member state and in 2013 for other EU member states.

According to the data communicated by the Swiss authorities, June 2016 – May 2017 a number of approximately 3,900 type B permits were issued for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, a figure that already exceeds the average threshold of the past three years, of 1,204 permits.

“Secretary of State George Ciamba voiced regret on the decision made by the Swiss side, showing that it comes in the context of a relatively small number of Romanians who applied for a type B permit over the past year and is dissonant with the contribution which the Romanian community in Switzerland – mostly highly qualified labour – has on the local labour market. The Romanian side believes that any decision regarding free movement should range within the spirit of facilitating a close partnership between the EU and Switzerland, with the aim of observing the free movement of persons and workers and non-discrimination of European citizens, values which are fundamental elements of the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons,” the release points out.

The Foreign Ministry shows that it will stay in dialogue with the Swiss authorities for identifying the best solutions in the support of the Romanian citizens and that it will continue, through the Embassy in Berne, to grant the necessary consular assistance to the Romanian citizens on the Swiss Confederation territory.

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