Environmental activist Franz Weber has died
Swiss activist Franz Weber died on 2 April 2019 aged 91. Weber, who launched countless national and international campaigns in his time, was one of the pioneers of nature, animal, landscape and cultural conservation. Two of his major battles included the fight against seal hunting and the protection of Alpine habitats (Second-Home Initiative). For a “Swiss Review” article about Franz Weber, please visit www.ogy.de/franzweber
Jürg Müller bids farewell to “Swiss Review”
This edition is “Swiss Review” political editor Jürg Müller’s final curtain call. Relying on a deep knowledge of Swiss federal politics, Müller has spent the past seven years providing the Swiss Abroad with his expert and lucid take on the issues, and voting Sundays, that matter – always with the concerns and perspective of the ‘Fifth Switzerland’ in mind. This is no surprise, given his long track record (he was “Swiss Review” editor-in-chief himself in the 1980s). Müller is entering retirement. While we hope he enjoys his new-found freedom, we will certainly miss his input and expertise.
Setback for e-voting
The cantons of Basel-Stadt, Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Thurgau were unable to make the e-voting system available for the popular vote of 19 May 2019. Swiss Post, which developed and operates e-voting in these cantons, decided to withdraw the service, citing “critical errors” in the system’s source code. It identified these errors during tests designed to pinpoint weaknesses in the system. The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad reacted to the outage with concern, saying that it amounted to a whole swathe of the Swiss expatriate community being “denied their democratic rights”.
Yes to 1.3-billion-franc cohesion payment
Parliament has approved a new ‘cohesion’ payment worth 1.3 billion Swiss francs over ten years that is once again intended to help reduce economic and social disparities between old and new EU member states. The current uncertainty surrounding the framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU overshadowed the decision, following demands from various politicians for the funding to be released only on the proviso that Brussels make concessions on the deal.