Swiss, EU agree to extend free movement deal to workers from Croatia

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland and the European Union have signed a deal to include Croatia in an agreement on the free movement of workers, the Swiss mission to the EU said on its Twitter account on Friday.

Swiss lawmakers are at odds with Brussels over how to implement a binding Swiss referendum in favor of immigration quotas that would violate a bilateral pact guaranteeing freedom of movement for all EU citizens.

Later on Friday, Switzerland is expected to detail its own plans for limiting the flow of migrants from the EU if it cannot reach agreement with Brussels on the issue before a February 2017 deadline.

Switzerland had at first declined to sign the protocol covering workers from Croatia, citing the binding February 2014 referendum on curbing immigration.

A senior Swiss official said last month that Switzerland can expect no progress in talks with the EU over migrant caps until after Britain’s referendum on EU membership in June.

The 2014 referendum, spearheaded by the anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP), has jeopardized a host of other Swiss-EU treaties that govern bilateral economic ties with the country’s largest trading partner.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Michael Shields and Louise Ireland