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Switzerland elected to the UN Security Council

05.08.2022 – MARC LETTAU

Switzerland was elected to the UN Security Council for the first time on 9 June 2022. The election by the UN General Assembly was won with 187 out of the 190 valid votes – an outstanding result. Switzerland now has the right to participate in conflict resolution during 2023 and 2024. While the Federal Council hailed the election as a success and a vote of confidence in Switzerland, opponents at home criticised Switzerland for putting its traditional role as an independent mediator between hostile parties at risk by taking a seat on the Security Council.

Swiss National Bank raises key interest rate

In mid-June 2022, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) raised its key interest rate for the first time in 15 years, a reactionary move designed to combat current inflation. According to the SNB, the tighter monetary policy is intended to prevent inflation from spreading even further to goods and services. The increase to the key interest rate was surprisingly significant: 0.5 percentage points, i.e. from -0.75% to -0.25%. Although the rate remains slightly negative, the hike bodes well for savers. Banks are no longer as likely to pass on the burden of negative interest rates to their customers – or if so, only to a limited extent. Mortgage interest rates, on the other hand, could rise further, causing some apprehension among property owners regarding the consequences of the higher interest rate.

Switzerland is now a “cooperative” neutral country

At the World Economic Forum in Davos at the end of May, President of the Swiss Confederation and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis surprised everyone with a new term: Switzerland is now pursuing the concept of “cooperative neutrality”. What his attempt to redefine neutrality actually means in specific terms is not yet entirely clear. The new definition is essentially a reaction to the war of aggression against Ukraine. According to Cassis, even a neutral state must take a stance. “That is why Switzerland is joining the countries that will not stand idly by as mere spectators to this attack on the foundations of democracy.” Switzerland supports the EU's sanctions against Russia in their entirety.

Covid-19 review – censure for the Federal Council

The parliamentary Control Committee has criticised the Federal Council for its political handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the committee’s view, the Federal Council was not quick enough to recognise that the pandemic was a crisis of global proportions that would affect all sectors. The government is also accused of underestimating the pandemic’s duration. Furthermore, during the course of the pandemic, responsibility for almost all tasks was assumed by the Department of Health, a decision deemed erroneous by the committee.

And the winner is… Joya Marleen

The 18-year-old singer Joya Marleen was the runaway winner at the Swiss Music Awards 2022. She took top honours in three categories – Best Hit (“Nightmare”), Best Talent and Best Female Act. Just before the awards ceremony, the young musician had to squeeze in sitting her school-leaving exam...

Picture  Basel diplomat Pascale Baeriswyl will represent Switzerland on the UN Security Council. Even more importantly, she has the opportunity to play a pioneering role as the first Swiss woman to sit on this key UN body. Photo: Keystone