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Norway's populists demand immigration referendum

AFP , Tuesday 11 Feb 2014
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Days after the Swiss narrowly voted to curb immigration from the EU, Norway's populist right-wing party on Tuesday demanded a similar referendum in the prosperous Nordic country.

"I won't take a stance on a quota system like the one the Swiss people have voted for," said Mazyar Keshvari, immigration spokesman for the Progress Party, a member of the ruling coalition which wants a more restrictive immigration policy.

"But the idea of a referendum is interesting and Norway should also organise a referendum on immigration. I'm completely certain that a majority wants to tighten up" the policy.

Norway is not a member of the EU but is included in the European Economic Area and the Schengen Area which allows relatively unrestricted movement of citizens.

A vote on immigration in the oil-rich Scandinavian country, where referendums are far less common than in Switzerland, would require the support of other parties.

On Sunday, 50.3 percent of the Swiss voters decided to reverse a decision which gave equal footing to European Union citizens in the Swiss labour market.

The European Commission reacted strongly saying that it would assess EU ties with Switzerland.

Immigration has been a hot-button issue for many EU countries over the past several years.

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