Increasing the retirement age – a thorny issue
The Federal Council and a parliamentary majority want to increase VAT as well as the retirement age for women from 64 to 65 as a means of safeguarding the Swiss pension system (AHV). In particular, the prospect of raising the retirement age is deeply contentious, given that further increments have been mooted for the future. Voters will now give their verdict on this latest AHV reform, after a broad alliance of campaigners managed within a short space of time to collect enough signatures for a referendum, which is due to be scheduled for autumn 2022.
The FDP rediscovers nuclear energy
The Liberals (FDP) used their party conference to express support for new nuclear power plants, albeit with some caveats. Thierry Burkhart, the new FDP party leader, stressed that his party was not calling for new plants to be built immediately. Nevertheless, prerequisites for building the latest-generation nuclear power stations needed to be created. In other words, an as yet unavailable technology is now incorporated in the FDP’s energy policy. Despite the lack of detail, this move comes as a U-turn. Burkhart’s predecessor Petra Gössi had endorsed phasing out nuclear energy.
Switzerland’s most extreme-right party disbands
The Swiss Nationalist Party (PNOS) announced its dissolution in February. Founded in 2000, the PNOS was classed as a far-right organisation by the Federal Office of Police as early as 2001. By no means does the fall of the PNOS translate into the fall of the Swiss far right per se. According to party leader Florian Gerber, a “specific project of national character” is already in the pipeline. Right-wing extremists have recently been involved in various anti-Covid protests, and have led some of these demonstrations themselves.
Winter medal haul
The Swiss team returned from the Beijing Winter Olympics with seven gold medals. Beat Feuz and Corinne Suter crowned their careers with gold in the downhill, and Michelle Gisin in the alpine skiing, while Lara Gut-Behrami won the super-G . Giant slalom specialist Marco Odermatt also took home gold, as did Mathilde Gremaud in the freeski slopestyle and Ryan Regez in freestyle skiing. Switzerland completed its Beijing medal haul with two silver and six bronze.
Swiss Olympics medal winners, Beijing 2022
Gold | Beat Feuz, Alpine skiing, Men’s downhill Lara Gut-Behrami, Alpine skiing, Women’s Super-G Marco Odermatt, Alpine skiing, Men’s giant slalom Mathilde Gremaud, Freestyle-skiing, Women’s slopestyle Corinne Suter, Alpine skiing, Women’s downhill Michelle Gisin, Alpine skiing, Women’s combined Ryan Regez, Freestyle skiing, Men’s ski cross
Silver | Wendy Holdener, Alpine skiing, Women’s combined Alex Fiva, Freestyle skiing, Men’s ski cross
Bronze | Lara Gut-Behrami, Alpine skiing, Women’s giant slalom Mathilde Gremaud, Freestyle skiing, Big air Wendy Holdener, Alpine skiing, Women’s slalom Jan Scherrer, Snowboard, Halfpipe Michelle Gisin, Alpine skiing, Women’s super-G Fanny Smith, Freestyle skiing, Women’s ski cross
Rockets falling on Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is shocking. It has caused incalculable suffering. The war also presents a challenge for Switzerland. Due to our early editorial deadline, we were not able to include any reports on that in the latest edition of “Swiss Review.” However, you can keep track of events at: swissinfo.ch
Picture “Hands off our pensions” – a broad alliance of campaigners heard the call. They managed to force a popular vote on the latest reform of the AHV system after collecting over 100,000 signatures within less than two months. Photo: Keystone