Switzerland's decision to re-impose immigration quotas on workers from central and eastern European Union countries is in breach of EU law, MEPs have argued.
In May, the Swiss government re-introduced an annual quota of 2,000 residency permits for citizens of the so-called "A8" nations, which joined the EU in 2004.
It took the decision after the number of visas for citizens from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania rose to 6,000 after the previous quota lapsed.
But in a debate in the European Parliament on 24 May 2012 MEPs across the political groupings branded the move "discriminatory".
They said it was in breach of the free movement of persons agreement between Switzerland and the EU.
MEPs also argued that the decision was not economically justifiable, as Switzerland had benefited from the EU labour force.
But the BNP's Andrew Brons said immigrants made up nearly a quarter of the Swiss population in 2009, asking: "How overwhelmed does Switzerland have to become before it can act?"
He accused the EU of trying to bully member states over border control.
European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said the Swiss government's decision was highly regrettable, given the "close and good relations" between the EU and Switzerland.
Differentiation on the grounds of nationality was not allowed by the agreement, he added.
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