Letters to the editor
Fair and balanced, please
Dear Editor, why do I feel that Swiss Review tends to provide fairly liberal “reportage”, when it should be informing us Swiss Abroad of the ongoing political affairs within Switzerland in a fair and balanced way? There has not been one issue of “Swiss Review” that has looked at conservative ideology even in a rudimentary way. Most of the countries surrounding Switzerland have a liberal or socialist form of government. Could it be that the average Swiss leans more to the right than the left in their political thinking and that for that reason the country has long been a haven of stability and prosperity? I ask you to consider that when Switzerland’s political views are commented on by “Swiss Review” it is done with fairness and balance.
Who do the politicians think about?
In your editorial “No interest in the people” you hit the nail right on the head. That is exactly how I see the political scene in Switzerland. There are so many important issues to address. But, like everywhere in the world, politicians think firstly of themselves, then of their parties, then of the major companies and industry and then maybe – but really only maybe – of the ordinary people who go to work day after day, clean the streets, dispose of refuse and drive people to work, etc. That is the reality of the situation we currently live in. But the politicians are playing with fire. Perhaps one day the cleaners, refuse collectors, drivers and workers will say enough is enough. What will happen then?
Keep up the good work
A big thank-you for the latest edition of “Swiss Review”, which is an extremely interesting read. While your work is certainly not always easy in light of the questions and topics that have to be addressed, I was nonetheless highly impressed by the latest issue. Keep up the good work.
Equal rights for everyone
The Swiss remain citizens of the confederation even when living abroad. It is therefore right that the Swiss Abroad should be represented in Parliament. It is inconceivable for ten percent of the Swiss population not to be granted equal rights by the government.
Am I dreaming?
Dear Madam, Reading your article makes me think I must be dreaming! Have you really considered the problems experienced by those living in the EU? The loss of civil liberties owing to the submission of states to European directives, the abandonment of sovereignty and an economic slump. I live in France and will not go into the problems associated with migration. I can only say that voting no longer makes much sense. The party system distorts everything it seeks to organise. While you do not like direct democracy much, it is nevertheless the people’s weapon. If the Swiss people think wrongly, you and your party friends believe they have to be changed. Continuing to call this democracy is illogical to say the least.
I would like to see better representation
I am a Swiss citizen abroad and work in the UK. I do not belong to a political party, I vote regularly and keep myself informed about Swiss affairs. I actually believe I have a much better understanding of what is going on than many of my compatriots living in Switzerland! Switzerland is not an island, but despite lying at the heart of Europe it still appears very isolated and short-sighted to me. I appreciate that Swiss Abroad in Thailand have different concerns to those living in Uruguay, in the UK or wherever else. Policy on Europe and that beyond Europe differ greatly. By way of example, Swiss Abroad in the EU can no longer pay voluntary old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV) contributions from the age of 30 – they are forced to have gaps in their AHV cover – whereas outside of the EU people can continue to make voluntary contributions. This results in heavily reduced pensions for Swiss Abroad in the EU. I therefore strongly believe there is a need for the Swiss living in the EU to be represented in Parliament. It is very common nowadays for young people to spend a few years working in the EU. I would be pleased to see their and my interests and rights better represented in Parliament.
20 % in Switzerland without the right to vote
If we consider democracy in Switzerland, the most important thing for starters is that all permanent residents of Switzerland have the right to participate in determining what happens in the country. Unfortunately, over 20% of Switzerland’s permanent resident population is excluded from political participation because they do not possess, for whatever reason, a little red booklet. This is now a much more serious issue than that of the Swiss Abroad deserving representation in Parliament. I would hope that we as Swiss Abroad would like to see an end to this infringement of the political rights of residents (which some of us almost certainly experience ourselves in our adopted countries). I believe campaigning on this issue to be even more important.
Having an authority to deal with the concerns of the Swiss Abroad and to also represent them in Parliament is an absolute necessity. In his 1 August address in Thailand, Federal Councillor Berset emphasised how important the Swiss Abroad are to Switzerland and what a contribution they make on behalf of Switzerland. But this raises the question of what Switzerland does for the Swiss Abroad. In any event, parliamentary representation to take up and seriously represent the issues of the Swiss Abroad is urgently needed.