Visit of a Swiss parliamentary delegation to Ukraine, Seco’s veto against the re-export of ammunition from Germany to Ukraine, changes in vision at Credit Suisse or even the potential for savings thanks to biosimilars: these are some of the topics that flourished in the Sunday press.
Here is the key information, not confirmed by Keystone-ATS:
Federal MPs visit Ukraine
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.
Germany wants to re-export Swiss ammunition: veto
The State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (Seco) has received two requests from Germany, which wants 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 lucky 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.
For its part, the steering committee of the Group for a Switzerland Without an Army (GSsA) spoke out in Bern on Saturday against the supply of weapons 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 does not need an army, “because the chances of Russian soldiers moving to Lake Constance have never been as small as today”. He thinks the Russian army is “weak”.
Some refugees return to Ukraine
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 after the war people with protection status S prefer to stay in Switzerland, they can exercise the right to asylum and obtain a residence permit after five years.
Democratization, but also corruption
The Council of Europe’s rapporteur for Ukraine, National Councilor Alfred Heer (UDC/ZH), says in an interview with SonntagsBlick that Ukraine has made significant progress towards democratization in recent years. However, corruption remains a major problem.
Alfred Heer criticizes the Federal Council for not planning a scenario in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The National Councilor will return to this country as part of his mandate.
Crisis management due for revision in Switzerland?
Economiesuisse believes that the Federal Council’s crisis management leaves something to be desired. In her view, it would be necessary to create a permanent crisis staff to avoid episodes such as 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 the spokesman of the Federal Council André Simonazzi, the government has repeatedly considered the desirability of establishing a permanent crisis staff, but has always ultimately rejected the idea.
Juicy contract with the Americans
SIG Sauer, a German-Swiss arms company based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall near Schaffhausen, has been awarded a contract by the US military that should yield $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”.
How to save 100 million a year?
Representatives of generic manufacturers (Intergenerika and Biosimilar.ch) and one of the umbrella insurers (Curafutura) believe that systematically prescribing biosimilars – which make it possible to replace reference products once their patent has expired – would save 100 million francs per year. An annual report on the matter will be published on Monday.
Busy at Credit Suisse
Pressure is mounting on Credit Suisse and its CEO 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.
According to Le Matin Dimanche, Credit Suisse’s General Meeting promises to be stormy on Friday, as the group’s share price is close to its all-time low, at less than 7 francs. “The board’s responsibility in the current debacle is very important,” said Vincent Kaufmann, director of the Ethos Foundation. It recommends not to discharge 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.
Right to repair for smartphones
The pressure on smartphone makers is increasing. 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.