Tag Archives: Switzerland

Swiss referendum on COVID19 law

Brussels 28.11.2021 Swiss vote on COVID-19 law amid steep surge in infections in Confederation. Voters casting ballots in the referendum will decide whether Switzerland should impose strict sanitary restrictions.
Swiss voters are having an opportunity to express their opinion on legislation to impose the use of a COVID-19 certificate QR-codes that allow only people who have been vaccinated, recovered, or tested negative attend public events and gatherings.

The vote on the Swiss COVID-19 law, which has unlocked billions of Swiss francs in aid for workers and businesses hit by the pandemic, comes as the Confederation amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases.

The Swiss federal government, unlike others, has not responded with new restrictions, awaiting free hand from the people to move on imposing restrictions. Analysts are united in their opinion, explaining this atypical for Europe situation by the growing opposition to its anti-COVID-19 policies before they face Sunday’s approval at the ballot box.

Polls suggest a solid majority of Swiss, who are vaccinated will approve the measure, and after the referendum with the cart blanche from the citizens of the Confederatio the government will move along the other nations in Europe, imposing QR codes and other strict measures, discriminating unvaccinated population in name of the health protection.

A group called “Friends of the Constitution” filed a referendum against the Covid-19 Act, saying the legislation gives the authorities too much political power, “deprives people of their rights”, and is “useless and dangerous”.

However, previously on June 13th, 60.2% of voters endorsed the law, which granted the federal government broad powers to manage the pandemic — including the ability to curtail public life by imposing various bans and restrictions including the Certificate with the QR-code — as well as the ensuing economic crisis, especially in regards to various forms of financial aid for businesses and individuals.

The use of the Covid-19 certificate in Switzerland is now limited to statutes related to the coronavirus vaccination, however, as the Re-Check research showed, powerful commercial and government players are eager to transform this device into a digital identity wallet (e-ID). The Re-Check survey shows that this shift is underway, and induces a profound change of paradigm which calls for an urgent social debate. Unfortunately, it is stifled by the regime established in the name of the crisis, the group underlined. Finally, an exclusive from Re-Check shows that the Swiss authorities do not quite manage the sensitive data of COVID certificates as they claim.

In the summer of 2021, many industrialised and emerging countries introduced a Covid-19 certificate system. Depending on the country, this device is also called health pass, green pass, health pass or vaccine passport. Equipped with a QR code, it is reserved for people who have received a Covid-19 vaccine, people who have recovered from a SARS-Cov-2 infection, and people who have tested negative for SARS-CoV- 2.

Re-Check then published “Democracy in pandemic mode: the strange case of the COVID certificate”. Almost six months later, they have returned to this theme with a series in three episodes. Its objective: to explore in detail the issues linked to these certificates with researchers specialising in the critical analysis of surveillance and technologies, but also to highlight the ghost-management systems that certain interest groups have developed to advance an agenda where the Covid-19 certificate plays a key role.

EU-Switzerland breakaway

Brussels 26.05.2021 Switzerland cancels ratification of framework agreement with EU. “Based on the results of negotiations in recent months, the Federal Council has determined that the talks with the EU … “haven’t led to the necessary solutions,” said Swiss President Guy Parmelin. (Image above: Geneva, Switzerland).

After months and months of uncertainty, the Federal Council has decided to pull the plug. “Substantial differences” remain between Switzerland and the EU “concerning central areas of the agreement,” said the Swiss government. The conditions necessary for the conclusion of the agreement are therefore not met: end of negotiations. The Federal Council, however, asked the Federal Department of Justice and Police to assess how bilateral relations could be stabilised by means of “autonomous adaptations” of Swiss law. Discussions with Brussels are not about to end.

“Discussions with the EU have not resulted in the solutions Switzerland needs with regard to the directive on the rights of citizens of the Union, wage protection and state aid. Substantial differences remain, above all as regards the protection of wages and the directive on the rights of citizens of the Union “. It is therefore over for the institutional agreement.

EU-Switzerland talks in stalemate

Brussels 25.04.2021 Talks on future ties between Switzerland and the European Union have once again hit a dead end in April, with Swiss President Guy Parmelin saying that “substantial differences” remain between the two parties, after talks with the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. (Image above: Bern, Switzerland).

Parmelin and von der Leyen held much-anticipated discussions in Brussels on Friday, April 23, in the hope of breaking a negotiating stalemate over an overarching framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU.

Switzerland has demanded that state aid, labour rules and citizens’ rights are removed from a draft agreement that was sketched in 2018, however the EU has refused.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting Parmelin said that Switzerland could not sign the deal as it is but added that the two sides would remain in contact.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU, operating within a set of bilateral agreements. Currently both sides are trying to finalise an institutional “framework agreement” aimed at simplifying future ties between the two parties.

During his meeting with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Confederation, Guy Parmelin have opted for a diplomatic approach: “We have made progress on certain points. Even though our positions remain at times very distant from those of the EU, we have decided to stay in touch. ”

While commenting on the issue the spokesperson of the Commission Eric Mamer, said that “the text of 2018 is the right one and the one we need”, clearly indicating that it could not be changed further, but the “door to the EU will always remain open” for Switzerland.

Leyen welcomes Swiss vote result

“Switzerland and the EU are more than just neighbours. We have very close and deep ties, rooted in a long, shared, European history. Geographical proximity plays a role of course, But, much more importantly, the close bonds between our citizens.About 1.4 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and 450,000 Swiss live in the EU. Another 320,000 EU citizens cross the border daily to work in Switzerland” said, w President von der Leyen, while reacting upon the result of the Swiss referendum regarding freedom of movement with the EU in favour of EU-Switzerland close ties.

“The citizens of Switzerland have shown today that they value these ties.
Their vote upholds one of the core pillars of our relationship: the mutual freedom to move, to live and to work in Switzerland and the EU.

“I welcome this outcome. I see it as a positive signal to continue to consolidate and deepen our relationship.
I will soon speak to Mrs Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation. I will congratulate her on this result. Of course, I look forward to the Swiss Federal Council now moving swiftly on the signature and ratification of the International Framework Agreement that we negotiated in 2018.

“I will reiterate this message I passed last January when we met in Davos”.

Swiss voters have refused a proposal to end an accord with the EU, allowing the free movement of people.
In the outcome of the referendum early 62% said they wished to keep free movement, while 38% were against.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU but has a series of interdependent treaties with the bloc which allow it to access to Europe’s free trade area.

The move to rein in immigration was proposed by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), but opposed by the government.
An initiative to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU to Switzerland narrowly passed in a 2014 referendum, reflecting upon Swiss-EU relations.
Swiss people are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy. They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.

Suisse-EU free movement limit law failed

The Swiss by a large majority on September 27, Sunday, said ‘NO’ to a right-wing initiative that would have restricted the immigration of European Union nationals, according to projections released shortly after the polls closed.

According to the polling institute GFS-Bern, voters rejected by 63% the so-called limitation initiative launched by the SVP, the country’s leading party but to which all the other political forces were opposed as well as the economic world.

Wolf: Swiss referendum

“To kill or not to kill?” That is the questions the Suisse will answer tomorrow in a referendum on hunting.
If the law is revised in the terms proposed by the Swiss Parliament, the cantons, which today can only authorise shooting at a wolf in the event of ‘significant damage’, will now be able to act in a preventive manner.

If the Swiss accept the revision of the law, the gamekeepers will be able to shoot isolated individuals who have lost their fierce character. They will be able to kill wolves living in a pack before damage occurs. however, cannot be shot if they keep away from herds and populated areas.

“The aim is to protect farm animals, farmed landscapes and human beings,” explains the committee supporting the law. They assure that the new text is more protective since “only three species can still be regulated, against nearly 300 previously: the wolf, the ibex and the mute swan”.

Why are conservationists against it?
Nature conservation associations, including Pro Natura, WWF Switzerland, BirdLife Switzerland, Zoosuisse and the Loup Suisse group, opposed the reform and obtained this referendum. According to the Swiss Greens, “it would then be possible to shoot protected animals when there is only a probability that they will cause damage and not in the event of actual damage, which removes any incentive to take preventive measures to protect the herds “.
Environmentalists believe that “preventive measures – not ‘preventive fire’, such as supporting herd protection, should be stepped up to avoid conflict with predators.”

On this side of the border too, the revision of the law is the subject of debate. It must be said that wild animals in general and wolves in particular do not care about the demarcation lines drawn by men.

Wildlife photographer from Haut-Doubs now living in Switzerland, Alain Prêtre denounces, for example, “a law of slaughter” which threatens both the lynx and the ibex.

Twenty-five years after his official return to Switzerland, the wolf has settled down for a long time. On September 27, 2020, the Swiss population is called upon to vote on the revision of the hunting law, following a referendum launched by Pro Natura, WWF, Birdlife, the Swiss Wolf Group and Zoosuisse. The latter might facilitate, among other things, the conditions for regulating firing.

“It is a real disaster: the revision of the hunting law (LChP) is totally inappropriate and endangers the protection of the species as a whole”, the WWF said. “Animals like the lynx, beaver, gray heron and wolf, which have always been found in Switzerland, could be shot without ever having done any damage – simply because they exist. This is why Pro Natura, WWF Switzerland, BirdLife Switzerland, the Swiss Wolf Group and the zoos of Switzerland have launched a referendum”.

The revision of the law no longer does justice to the balanced compromise between protection, regulation and hunting, but above all proposes a unilateral change which operates to the detriment of endangered species. Protected species such as the lynx, beaver and mute swan can be placed on the list of species that can be regulated at any time, along with the wolf and ibex. Thus, these animals can be shot simply as a preventive measure, that is to say without even damage being attributable to them. With this new law, it is no longer mandatory to take precautionary measures (such as protecting herds in areas where wolves live), before having the right to slaughter animals. Many protected species are likely to come into conflict with certain human interests and therefore constitute potential candidates for the list of species that can be regulated.

Dealing with such conflicts of interest between conservation of species and interests of use is a delicate business. This new law is in no way fair to face this challenge. It serves a unilateral interest: during the revision of the law, the positive impact of protected species on the ecosystem was completely obscured. Wolves and lynxes, for example, improve the health of wildlife, and grazing damage in nurseries has also decreased. In addition, these species offer new prospects for tourism.

In short, this new law poses a fundamental societal question: how much space are we prepared to give nature?
The vote of May 17, 2020 has been postponed, the new date is September 27, 2020 due to the pandemic restrictions.

EU new Envoy to Switzerland

On 1 September, H.E. Mr. Petros Mavromichalis presented his letters of accreditation, signed by the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, to the President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga. By that, he is Extraordinary and Plenipentiary Ambassador of the European Union to Switzerland.

On occasion of the ceremony, Ambassador Mavromichalis and the President of the Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga evoked the close ties and shared values between the EU and Switzerland as well as the importance and quality of the bilateral relations.

The presentation of the letters of accreditation for the Principality of Liechtenstein is foreseen on 23 September in Vaduz.

Ambassador Petros Mavromichalis succeeds to Ambassador Michael Matthiessen, who ended his office in Bern on 31 August.

Switzerland travel restrictions till June

Health Minister Alain Berset said that he was pleased with people’s behaviour in Switzerland, respecting the lockdown during the Easter period.

In addition to the measures, along with the continued flattening of the curve of new Covid-19 infections in Switzerland, Berset indicated that the country would start relaxing the measures soon.

“It didn’t go too bad and so we need to thank everyone for that. As we said, this is not the moment to travel or take holidays – for example in Ticino – and as we saw, people have abided to the rules”.

https://twitter.com/didierpittet/status/1249232108620578818?s=21

I’m happy about that – we’re asking a lot from people at the moment, it needs to be said.”

There will be no passengers allowed to enter Switzerland by air until June 13th. Travel restrictions have been updated and are available on IATA Timatic tool. Exceptions applied, information is subject to permanent change.

Berset reasserted that the country needed to remain humble as vulnerable people will continue to be affected until there is a vaccine. Until a vaccine was found, there is a need to abide by the rules and to keep proper hygiene, Berset said.

EU joins UN in wildlife protection

World Wildlife Conference: EU pushes for better protection of the world’s most threatened species

The EU will join other parties at the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) to the UN Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), starting in Geneva, Switzerland, this weekend to take additional measures to protect the world’s most threatened species against over-exploitation through international trade. CITES is a global treaty that seeks to make international trade in wildlife sustainable and to coun

The EU will push for more effective implementation of existing rules, including through a proposed Resolution on measures for ensuring the legality of trade under the Convention. In line with its priorities under the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, at CoP18 the EU will promote better enforcement of the Convention’s provisions by all Parties, in particular by those countries that repeatedly fail to implement their obligations and which may need additional support to avoid trade sanctions as a matter of last resort.

This is an absolute must to address illegal poaching and trafficking affecting elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, pangolins and rosewood. The adoption of a new ‘Strategic Vision’ for CITES for the years 2021 to 2030 will provide an opportunity to consolidate and clarify the role of CITES in the broader context of international environmental governance. This also includes the post-2020 biodiversity framework that is being developed in parallel under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Swiss engage in China Silk Road project

Switzerland has engaged in China‘s new Silk road project, or Belt and Road Initiative, concluding the talks with memorandum signatures of Swiss President Ueli Maurer and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping  in Beijing.

The massive Chinese trade initiative involves the construction of ports, roads, railways and other infrastructure to upgrade commerce between China and the world.

The aim is for both countries to expand cooperation on trade, investment and finance for projects in third countries along the routes” of the Belt and Road Initiative the Swiss government said in a statement.

The US has accused the New Silk Road of luring developing countries into debt by offering cheap financing they cannot afford.

Critics also warn that poorer countries could become politically dependent on China, and that Chinese companies seem to win many of the project contracts.

The biggest infrastructure project in the world. An estimated 60% of humanity, and 35% of the world’s economy will be included.

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