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April 20, 2014

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EU reacts to Switzerland’s anti-immigration vote

Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 | 7:55 a.m.

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has indefinitely suspended negotiations with the Swiss about their participation in two research programs in the first indication of souring relations following a Swiss referendum seeking to cap immigration.

EU spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said Monday the talks are suspended pending a "clear signal" on how Switzerland plans to abide by a treaty guaranteeing the free movement of citizens between the EU and the Alpine nation.

She says Switzerland told the EU it won't grant free movement to the citizens of the 28-nation bloc's latest member nation, Croatia, forcing Brussels to suspend talks on Horizon 2020 research grants and the Erasmus academic exchange program.

Swiss voters on Feb. 9 narrowly backed a plan to cap immigration for all foreigners, including EU citizens, within three years.