05 June 2005
Swiss voters have agreed to relax their border restrictions by joining the European Union's Passport-Free Zone, while separately approving more rights for same-sex couples.
In Sunday's referendum, about 55 percent of Swiss voters accepted two European Union treaties. Joining the EU's Passport-Free Zone will eliminate many border restrictions with Switzerland's neighbors and ease the sharing of criminal information. The other treaty regulates and streamlines asylum issues.
Switzerland is not part of the European Union.
In a second question, 58 percent of voters approved granting same-sex partners the same rights as heterosexuals on taxes, pensions, and inheritances. Other European countries have such rights for gay couples, but this is the first time the issue has been directly approved by citizens of a European country.