Germany: handle Swiss immigration vote cautiously

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging caution in the European Union's response to Swiss voters' decision to impose immigration curbs, arguing that it doesn't make sense to rush into retaliation.

Switzerland narrowly voted Feb. 9 to introduce immigration quotas for all foreigners, including those from the EU. The government has three years to implement them. The decision raises questions over several bilateral agreements; on Monday, Brussels indefinitely suspended negotiations with Bern about Swiss participation in two research programs.

Merkel said after meeting Swiss President Didier Burkhalter Tuesday that the EU will have to decide once the three-year implementation period is up what action to take — "but I would not advise deciding on all the consequences right at the beginning." She said it's important "that contacts don't break off prematurely."