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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Swiss to scrap border checks

Associated Press

GENEVA – Independent-minded Swiss voters gave the shaken European Union a vote of confidence Sunday, approving participation in an EU passport-free zone even though Switzerland never has joined the 25-nation bloc.

Same-sex couples also were granted more rights in the two-issue referendum, marking the first time the issue has been put to a national vote in Europe.

Signaling Swiss desire for closer integration with the EU, about 55 percent of voters, or 1.47 million people, supported joining Europe’s passport-free “Schengen” zone by 2007.

Swiss President Samuel Schmid hailed the result as backing for the coalition government’s policy of developing closer links with the rest of Europe.