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  • Mailbag

Letters to the editor


Switzerland and the COVID-19 pandemic

Switzerland dealt with COVID-19 in a very responsible manner. Of course, it is bad when people lose their jobs and futures. However, Switzerland’s response was quick and, for once, unbureaucratic, unlike that of numerous EU countries.

Daniel Trächsel, Marzell, Germany

Switzerland was caught napping like a lot of other countries, unfortunately. Countries that were prepared were hit much less severely (South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore). Will Switzerland learn from this? The chances of that are slim when you consider how reluctant the Swiss media have been to criticise.

Adrien Loewensberg, Portugal

I agree that there was a support system in place, and that the federal government worked very hard to help the entire country (unlike in the US, where it is absolute chaos except in states whose governors are endowed with a modicum of common sense). It was reassuring to know that my mother in Geneva could seek help if necessary. However, many of the underprivileged lacked the necessary safety net. The long line of people queueing at a food bank in Geneva was a good example.

Guillaume de Syon, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA

Voters to give their verdict on paternity leave

I’m surprised Switzerland, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is so behind in this case. If you ever gave birth to a child, you know how much energy it takes away from the mother. The support of the Daddy is so important for the new born baby and the mother. It’s a good investment for the whole family and even more so for the whole country.

Ronald Thoma, Ontario, Canada

As a Swiss expatriate who has been living in Germany for many years, I am just horrified at how incredibly backward Switzerland is when it comes to things like this. Take the word ‘Vaterschaftsurlaub’ for example, which literally means ‘paternity holiday’. Having a small child at home is anything but a holiday. Parenting is a wonderful but energy-sapping responsibility that extends over a good many years. Hence we refer to it as parental leave in Germany, because both parents can happily do their bit instead of the mother shouldering all the burden like she does in Switzerland.

André Tschachtli, Germany

I am totally against the introduction of paternity leave. If they want extra time to care for their children, fathers should take holiday leave, or, if they can, accumulate overtime hours during the months that precede the birth. Anyway, a working day only lasts eight hours. That still leaves plenty of time for fathers to take over from the mother and look after the baby.

Claude-Alain Guyot, Cirey, France

Switzerland is stuck in the Middle Ages when it comes to family support. Even ten days of statutory leave is a pathetic amount. It should be six months of leave for the two parents, consisting of at least 16 weeks of leave for the mother. Funnily enough, opponents of this measly proposal are the same people who are willing to harm the economy so that men aged between 25 and 40 can march around in circles and drink beer at the taxpayer’s expense for three to four weeks EACH YEAR on those ridiculous military refresher courses. It appears that these people care little about the massive hit that employers have to take for something that has no national security relevance whatsoever.

Matthieu Hösli, France

The “limitation initiative” and Switzerland’s relationship with the EU

Aside from the fact that Switzerland will benefit economically from a closer relationship with the EU as globalisation intensifies, a politically strong, peaceful Europe is also very much in Switzerland’s interests.

Christoph Twerenbold, Cologne, Germany

After selling off the big industries and becoming a service provider and acting zoo for the world, the people should see this is the wrong path. All these left-wing habits are poison for the country. Go back to what you were, an innovative, thriving, well educated people. Stop degrading your education system. Start creating and inventing again. The world is big, the EU is small and damaged by itself.

Ulrich Haltiner, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Preserving Switzerland’s neutrality is an absolute must. Hence making a reasonable contribution to the EU for co-operation and to fit the greater good would be desirable. To be bullied into a system of less flexibility would be a mistake. After all a relationship between partners can work very well, no need to be married.

Kurt Fehlmann, Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia