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Lithuania expresses concern over Swiss quotas for workers from Central and Eastern Europe

Audronius Ažubalis
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Audronius Ažubalis
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed concern over Switzerland's decision to limit the number of work permits issued to citizens of Central and Eastern European countries.

In a statement on Monday, the ministry said "the decision violates the agreement between the European Union and its member states and the Swiss Confederation on the free movement of persons and discriminates citizens of eight EU member states in favor of citizens of other EU member states."

"Lithuania and Switzerland have close relations of political and economic cooperation, therefore the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hopes the Swiss government will soon reconsider its decision," the ministry said in its statement.

Last week, EU officials strongly criticized the Swiss government's decision to introduce quotas for workers from Central and Eastern Europe. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said this measure was neither economically justified by the labor market situation nor by the number of EU citizens seeking residence in Switzerland.

From 1 May, Switzerland will grant only 2,000 permits for citizens from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to live and work in Switzerland, compared to the 6,000 permits granted last year.

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