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Swiss Vote Seen as Challenge to European Integration
by Steven Erlanger
European officials warned Switzerland on Monday that it would pay a steep price for its vote to limit the flow of workers across its borders, but many also acknowledged that far-right parties were beginning to reshape politics and policy across the Continent.
The Swiss vote on Sunday posed a direct challenge to the free movement of people, a key pillar to the whole edifice of the European Union. It followed a surprising show of strength at the polls by a wide range of groups — from nationalist politicians in Britain, France and the Netherlands to anti-Semites in Hungary and a neo-fascist movement in Greece — that treat some European ideals as a threat to their freedom and prosperity.
The big test of populist power will be in May, when anti-immigrant and euroskeptic parties are campaigning vigorously to take seats in the European Parliament, seeking to form a bloc in the legislature that aims to roll back integration and taxation in Europe.
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