The Senate has endorsed a plan to continue a key labour agreement with European Union and extend it to the latest EU members Bulgaria and Romania.
The accord on the free movement of people is a key element of a first set of bilateral treaties with Brussels which came into force six years ago.
Speakers said the deal, which still has to be debated by the other parliamentary chamber, the House of Representatives, had contributed to the upswing in the Swiss economy.
However, the rightwing Swiss People Party has threatened to force a nationwide on the issue to take place by May 2009.
The Senate on Monday also decided that any ballot would have to include both the issue of continuing the labour accord and extending it to Bulgaria and Romania.
The government and the People's Party called for two separate votes.
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