Left wingers urge Swiss to reject immigration curbs

(Reuters) – Drastically limiting immigration in Switzerland would isolate the country by damaging its ties with the European Union, left-wing groups said on Monday, calling on voters to reject the proposal.

Swiss voters will decide in a referendum on Nov. 30 whether they want to cap immigration at just 0.2 percent of the resident population or the equivalent of 16,000 people per year.

In 2013, net immigration was five times greater at 82,800, according to the office for national statistics.

The initiative “Stop overpopulation – safeguard our natural resources” launched by the environmentalist group “Ecopop” comes after voters narrowly backed a right-wing proposal in February to introduce quotas on EU citizens, triggering strong criticism from Brussels.

Opponents say a vote for the far more restrictive “Ecopop” measures would sound the death knell for Switzerland’s bilateral accords with the EU, which govern trade, agriculture and economic and technological co-operation among other things…