Swiss finance minister makes surprise decision to quit
The Local » Politics
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1y ago
He is the longest serving member of the Federal Council — Switzerland’s seven-member government — having been a member since January 2009. He has held the finance brief since January 2016 after seven years as the defence minister. “I have been in politics for more than 40 years, 14 of them in the Federal Council. It is a fascinating task,” Maurer told a hastily arranged press conference. However, “during the last year, I thought that I still have a lot of energy to do something else”, he said, announcing his resignation. “I already have plans,” the Zurich father-of-six said, without revealing ..read more
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‘Iron weathercock’: Europe reacts to Liz Truss becoming new British PM
The Local » Politics
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1y ago
Truss was announced as the winner of the Conservative party leadership race on Monday afternoon, beating Rishi Sunak in a vote by party members. Her victory, which means she becomes Britain’s next Prime Minister, was expected given her healthy lead in the polls. Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz was one of the first leaders to react. Banner ad Scholz on Monday congratulated Truss on her victory and offered a stock response on how he sees cooperation between the UK and Germany. “I am looking forward to our cooperation in these challenging times. The UK and Germany will continue to work clo ..read more
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Switzerland agrees to return seized assets to Uzbekistan
The Local » Politics
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1y ago
Under the terms of the agreement — signed in Bern by Swiss President Ignazio Cassis and Uzbek Minister of Justice Ruslanbek Davletov — a total USD 131 million in confiscated assets will be used to set up a UN fund for sustainable development in the former Soviet republic. “The fund will allow the returned assets to be used for the benefit of the population of Uzbekistan,” Cassis said during the signing ceremony.  Banner ad Switzerland froze around CHF 800 million (USD 842 million) in 2012 in connection with criminal proceedings against Gulnara Karimova, the ..read more
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Ukraine and allies lay foundations for reconstruction at Swiss conference
The Local » Politics
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1y ago
Leaders from dozens of countries, international organisations and businesses have been meeting in the southern Swiss city of Lugano under tight security since Monday, discussing the best path forward for reconstruction, even as Russia’s war continues to rage in Ukraine. ‘A beautiful country’: How Ukrainian refugees see Switzerland Speaking on the first day of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and a long line of government ministers described the massive destruction caused by Russia’s February 24 invasion. “Reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local task of a ..read more
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World Economic Forum: Globalisation under the spotlight in Switzerland
The Local » Politics
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1y ago
Some believe the crises have unleashed an opportunity for a transformation of international trade and supply chains as the world economy slows down. Once advocated by anti-globalisation movements, far from the quiet rooms at Davos, talk of “deglobalisation” is back in the face of supply chain disruptions linked to the Ukraine conflict and lockdowns in China. In the hope of building stronger networks unaffected by crises like war, deglobalisation would mean bringing production back closer to home, thus allowing the movement of goods across shorter distances. The issue has become acute after Cov ..read more
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Total Resistance: The Swiss Cold War manual inspiring Ukraine’s fight against Russia
The Local » Politics
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1y ago
Total Resistance by Major Hans von Dach was conceived as a manual on how to resist a hypothetical Soviet invasion on Swiss soil. Now it’s a bestseller in Ukraine. The Ukrainian translation of the field manual comprises two of the original seven volumes, and was first published by Lviv-based Astrolabe Publishing in 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea. Now in its eighth edition, 100,000 copies have been distributed in the country and it has become a symbol of resistance. Banner ad “Most of the equipment von Dach mentions is the same as what we’re using. In the regular artillery and infant ..read more
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EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland has escaped the global spike in costs of living
The Local » Politics
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2y ago
In March 2022, Switzerland recorded an inflation rate of 2.4 percent. While this is no doubt concerning by Swiss historical standards and is the highest level for a decade, it pales in comparison with inflation rates elsewhere.  Spain’s rate of 9.8 percent inflation is the highest for 37 years.  Germany is currently struggling under an inflation rate of 7.3 percent, which is the highest since reunification.  Denmark has seen an increase of 4.2 percent, while in the US, inflation is currently at 7.9 percent. Manual widget for ML (class=”ml-manual-widget-container”) Why is inflati ..read more
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Why is Switzerland’s UN Security Council bid controversial?
The Local » Politics
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2y ago
In an unprecedented move spurred by the war in Ukraine, Switzerland has applied for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the years 2023 and 2024. The National Council, the lower house of parliament, voted by 125 to 56 on March 10th to support the candidacy, believing the  membership will strengthen the country’s international standing. “Our candidacy is in the interest of Switzerland as much as in that of the world,” Swiss President Ignazio Cassis told the lawmakers. READ MORE: Switzerland one step closer to UN Security Council seat despite neutrality concerns Ban ..read more
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Sanctions on Russia: Is Switzerland still a neutral nation?
The Local » Politics
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2y ago
Along with cheese, chocolate and watches, neutrality ranks as one of Switzerland’s trademarks.  While Switzerland is far from the world’s only neutral country, it is perhaps the best-known example.  READ MORE: Switzerland to impose sanctions on Russia Switzerland adopted its position of “perpetual neutrality” after the last war in which it took part ended in 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.  Throughout world wars and regional conflicts, Switzerland’s neutrality has been frequently tested but has remained a trademark of the Alpine nation’s foreign policy.   Manual wi ..read more
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How Europe reacted to Switzerland’s historic sanctions announcement
The Local » Politics
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2y ago
Traditionally neutral Switzerland will adopt all the sanctions already imposed by the EU on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including against President Vladimir Putin, Bern said Monday. “This is a big step for Switzerland,” Swiss President Ignazio Cassis told a press conference, after the Alpine nation had for days hesitated over whether to join the international move to sanction Moscow over the attack on its neighbour. Manual widget for ML (class=”ml-manual-widget-container”) As the European Union last week slapped Russia with biting sanctions after it launched its full-scale invasion of ..read more
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