Press overview of this Sunday 24 April 2022

Bern (awp/ats) – Visit of a Swiss parliamentary delegation to Ukraine, racist acts in Switzerland, changes in vision at Credit Suisse or even possible savings thanks to biosimilars: these topics flourished in the Sunday press. Here is the key information, not confirmed by Keystone-ATS:

SONNTAGSBLICK: National Council President Irène Kälin (Greens/AG) plans to visit Ukraine along with other federal members of parliament. An invitation has been extended by the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk, who is repaying the courtesy after a Ukrainian delegation’s visit to Bern in 2020, the SonntagsBlick reports. Irène Kälin has just sent an invitation to the address of, in particular, the national councilors Martin Bäumle (PVL/ZH), Nik Gugger (PEV/ZH) and Christine Badertscher (Groenen/BE). The holding of this trip is subject to local safety conditions.

SONNTAGSZEITUNG: The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) has received two requests from Germany to re-export ammunition from Switzerland to Ukraine. However, he vetoed it, citing Swiss neutrality and Swiss war material laws, the SonntagsZeitung writes. This position is not fortunate enough to cross the Rhine, in a country already in the throes of heated discussions about the desirability of supplying German Marder-type tanks to Ukraine. Switzerland, by refusing to allow Germany to re-export the ammunition it produces, has been accused of complicating the task further. The Seco did not specify exactly what this ammunition was or how much it would be linked to the eventual delivery of the Marder tanks.

NZZ AM SONNTAG: Switzerland has so far taken in about 40,000 refugees from Ukraine. According to Secretary of State for Migration Christine Schraner Burgener, interviewed by the NZZ am Sonntag, these people should not stay in Switzerland for the long term, but return to the country afterwards. However, it is important that they feel safe when they return. It will also be necessary to help them rebuild themselves on site. Already today, Mrs Schraner Burgener noted, a significant number of refugees have returned. If people with protection status S prefer to stay in Switzerland after the war, they can exercise the right to asylum and obtain a residence permit after five years.

SONNTAGSBLICK: Council of Europe rapporteur for Ukraine, National Councilor Alfred Heer (UDC/ZH) says in an interview with SonntagsBlick that Ukraine has made significant progress in the field of democratization in recent years. However, corruption remains a major problem. Alfred Heer criticizes the Federal Council for not planning a scenario for the case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The National Councilor will return to this country as part of his mandate.

SONNTAGSBLICK/SONNTAGSZEITUNG: The steering committee of the Group for a Switzerland Without an Army (GSsA) spoke out in Bern on Saturday against the supply of arms by Switzerland to other countries. This position is in line with an “anti-militarist security policy,” GSsA secretary Anja Gada told SonntagsBlick. In the SonntagsZeitung, the movement’s co-founder Jo Lang said he was in favor of supplying arms to Ukraine “from certain countries”. But at the same time, he claims that Switzerland doesn’t need an army, “because the chances of Russian soldiers moving to Lake Constance have never been as small as now.” He thinks the Russian army is “weak”.

NZZ AM SONNTAG: Economiesuisse believes that the Bundesrat’s crisis management leaves something to be desired. According to her, it would be necessary to create a permanent crisis staff to avoid episodes like the Federal Council’s waltz-reluctance about the resumption of EU sanctions against Russia. Monika Rühl, director of the umbrella organization, tells NZZ am Sonntag that it would be good to eliminate the cumbersome decision-making process. The crisis staff may consist of managers from different departments. Depending on the nature of the crisis, additional specialists can be deployed. According to Federal Council spokesman André Simonazzi, the government has considered several times to create a permanent crisis staff, but has always rejected the idea in the end.

SUNDAY MORNING: SIG Sauer, a German-Swiss arms company based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall near Schaffhausen, has been awarded a contract from the US military expected to bring in $2.7 billion over ten years to supply up to 250,000 weapons. This sale includes an initial supply order worth $20.4 million, Le Matin Dimanche writes, citing the official website of the US Department of Defense. According to State Councilor Charles Juillard (Le Centre/JU), former colonel and member of the Security Policy Commission, these weapons are Swiss stamped but, as far as he knows, “no longer manufactured in Switzerland”.

SUNDAY MORNING: Representatives of generic manufacturers (Intergenerika and Biosimilar.ch) as well as one of the umbrella insurers (Curafutura) believe that systematic prescribing of biosimilars – which allows to replace reference products once their patent has expired – would save 100 million Swiss francs per year. An annual report on the matter will be published on Monday.

NZZ AM SONNTAG: Pressure is mounting on Credit Suisse and its board chairman Axel Lehmann ahead of Friday’s general meeting of shareholders. Losses and scandals have damaged the reputation of the No. 2 Swiss bank. Changes are brewing at the head of the group, writes the NZZ am Sonntag. Chief legal officer Romeo Cerutti, chief financial officer David Mathers and chief operating officer for Asia Helman Sitohang may be replaced. The bank confirms that a process is underway to plan succession and senior appointments. However, the board of directors has not yet made a decision.

SUNDAY MORNING: Credit Suisse’s general meeting on Friday promises to be stormy as the group’s action is close to its all-time low, with less than 7 Swiss francs. “The board’s responsibility in the current debacle is very important,” estimates Le Matin Dimanche Vincent Kaufmann, director of the Ethos Foundation. It recommends discharging managers for fiscal year 2020, such as financial advisors Glass Lewis and ISS. In the eyes of Henry Peter, professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Geneva and specialist in corporate governance, a merger should be considered. According to him, Credit Suisse could interest French, Spanish or American groups.

SONNTAGSZEITUNG: The pressure on smartphone manufacturers is mounting. The European Parliament recently voted to introduce a right to repair electronic devices. This is to oblige manufacturers to manufacture their devices in a way that facilitates repairs. Software will also need to be designed to last longer. Such legislation could also be introduced in Switzerland, the SonntagsZeitung understands.

Note: This information has not been confirmed by the ATS.

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