Romania’s Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba has welcomed a decision by the Swiss Federal Council to grant free movement to Romanian nationals as of June 1.
“I welcome the decision by the Swiss Federal Council to grant free movement to Romanian nationals as of June 1, 2019. The safeguard clause limiting this right for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals is thus ending. The decision is a natural one, ensuring equal rights for EU citizens,” Ciamba said Wednesday on Twitter.
In April 2018, the Swiss Federal Council decided to extend the safeguard clause applicable to Romanians and Bulgarians, as provided for in Protocol II to the EU-Switzerland agreement on the free movement of persons.
According to a press statement of Romania’s Foreign Ministry (MAE) back then, the measure was to be valid for one year, throughout May 31, 2019, and could not be renewed. It regarded the issuance of new “B” residence permits (stay between 1 and 5 years). The measure did not restrict the issuance of L-type permits (stay under one year) or the extension of “B” permits already issued.
Under the 1999 Agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the European Union on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) that was extended on June 1, 2009, to include Romania and Bulgaria through Protocol II thereto access of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals to the Swiss labour market took into account quotas for a period of 7 years (2 years + 3 years + 2 years, 2009 to May 31, 2016).
The time of employment restrictions ended on May 31, 2016, when Switzerland liberalised the movement of Romanian and Bulgarian workers. Under the protocol, the Swiss government could for the last time on June 1, 2018 reactivate the safeguard clause.
Switzerland applied the measure in 2012 for new EU member states and in 2013 for all the EU member states.