The Federal Council decided everything today

Guy Parmelin, Karin Keller-Sutter, Simonetta Sommaruga and Alain Berset (from left) at a Federal Council media conference. (Archive)

Image: Keystone

At its meeting today, the Federal Council decided, among other things, that people with trans identities can in future be able to change their name and gender unbureaucratically. The latest decisions in the ticker.

Cross-border financial services

The Federal Council sees only limited room for maneuver to facilitate cross-border financial services for Italian and French private customers. That is in a report on cross-border asset management that the Federal Council passed on Wednesday. Access to the financial market does not fail because of legal hurdles, but depends on the political willingness of the individual EU states. France and Italy have so far decided against cross-border market access for asset management by third-country banks. According to the Federal Council, Switzerland will continue to seek and pursue bilateral solutions

Covid-19 law

The Federal Council passed the dispatch on Wednesday to extend individual measures of the Covid-19 law. On September 1, the government decided to ask parliament to extend some of the measures because they will expire at the end of this year. The extension into next year will ensure that the Federal Council continues to have the necessary instruments to combat the pandemic and its consequences, the government justified the decision. The article in the Covid-19 law on the certificate is not affected by the extension. As before, this article is due to expire at the end of 2022. Parliament will discuss the proposal in the coming winter session.

Financing deficit due to Corona

Because of the corona pandemic, the federal government will continue to be in the red this year. Based on the September figures, a funding deficit of CHF 14.8 billion is expected, the Federal Council announced. He was informed of the forecast at his meeting. This is slightly more optimistic than in June, when the Federal Finance Administration (FFA) had assumed a minus of 17.4 billion. Expenditure to deal with the pandemic is estimated at 16.6 billion. In 2020 there was a record deficit of CHF 15.8 billion.

Taxation of cross-border commuters

The Federal Council sees considerable progress in normalizing relations with Italy in the financial and tax area. This emerges from a report that the state government has approved. The Federal Council wrote that this progress was made possible by the so-called roadmap agreed with Rome in 2015. Among other things, it deals with the taxation of cross-border commuters – a corresponding agreement is currently in the ratification phase – and with questions of double taxation. With the report, the Federal Council fulfilled a postulate of the Ticino Central National Councilor Marco Roman

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Corona vaccines

In order to be able to offer as many different vaccines against the coronavirus as possible, the Federal Council decided on Wednesday to introduce an exception to the Therapeutic Products Act. According to this law, the temporary approval of a drug is only permitted in Switzerland if no other equivalent drug is available. In the pandemic, it is important to be able to provide vaccines to as many different providers as possible with different technologies, the Federal Council announced. In addition, it will now be possible to hold general meetings virtually until the end of 2022, and the measures to protect particularly vulnerable employees will be extended until the end of 2021.

Wind turbines

The Federal Council gives the green light for future wind turbines in the canton of Thurgau. It has approved the relevant structure plan for the use of wind energy in the canton. The Federal Council granted approval to one of the six locations with reservations. According to the current status of the work, the government announced that the large wind turbines planned on the Thurgau Seerücken in the Salen-Reutenen area could “possibly significantly affect” the Unesco cultural heritage of the Reichenau monastery island. Should the International Council for Monuments and Historical Places confirm such impairment, the approval of the Federal Council is invalid and the wind energy area cannot be realized.

labour market

People from third countries with a master’s degree or a doctorate from a Swiss university should be able to work more easily in Switzerland if there is a shortage of skilled workers. For this they should be excluded from the annual quotas for employees from countries that do not belong to the EU or Efta. This on condition that their employment is of “high scientific and economic interest”, as the Federal Council announced. With the amendment to the law, the Federal Council is implementing a motion passed by parliament in 2019. The consultation will last until February 10, 2022.

Community service in pilot projects

As part of pilot projects, people doing community service can also be used in outpatient care from December 1st. The Federal Council has put the corresponding ordinance into force, as it announced. The decree is limited to the end of 2022. Around a hundred assignments are planned in a maximum of eighty companies, such as Spitex service providers. In 2023 the Federal Council will decide on a definitive introduction based on an evaluation.

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Amendment of the National Road Ordinance

If noise barriers along motorways and railway lines were systematically equipped with solar panels, the annual electricity needs of around 22,000 households could be covered. This is the conclusion of a report approved by the Federal Council. According to the government, legal adjustments are needed in order to be able to better use this potential. The Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (Uvek) is said to be preparing a change to the National Road Ordinance. It is also examining whether it should be possible to finance investments in favor of traction power production via the railway infrastructure fund.

Social security law

According to the Federal Council, there is currently no need to change social security law in order to increase social security for employees of platforms. With the new business model of work platforms such as the Uber car service or the cleaning aid agencies Helpling and Batmaid, the status of employees is not always clear and their social security is not always guaranteed, as a report approved by the Federal Council shows. Nevertheless, the current system of social security offers sufficient flexibility, announced the Federal Council.

TV channel TV5 moons

The Principality of Monaco is to be included in the network of the French-speaking television channel TV5 Monde, in which Switzerland is also involved. The Federal Council approved the Principality’s request on Wednesday, and the Department of Communication must now sign the relevant agreements. For the permanent admission of Monaco, all member states have to sign the accession agreements. In addition to Switzerland, these are France, Belgium and Canada. TV5 Monde serves as a platform for the entire French-speaking area and is intended to promote cultural diversity and the exchange of programs between French-speaking countries.

Intelligence service

From December 1, the cantonal authorities no longer have to notify the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) of all judgments, penalties and discontinuation decisions on various offenses such as breach of the peace or racial discrimination. On Wednesday, the Federal Council put these and other amendments to two intelligence services ordinances into force on this date. In addition, the cantons will in future be able to largely independently pass on information that they have researched to the responsible authorities, such as security organizations. In order to disclose the data received from the FIS, its consent is required – except in exceptional cases, for example if there is an imminent serious threat.

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Changes in the civil status register

People with a trans identity or a variant of gender development can change their first name and the gender entered in the civil status register quickly and unbureaucratically from the beginning of the next year. The Federal Council has put a corresponding change in the law and the necessary adjustments to two ordinances into force on January 1, 2022, as it announced on Wednesday. For people over the age of 16, a simple declaration is sufficient, unless the adult protection authority has ordered otherwise. Changing the entry costs 75 francs. The parliament decided to change the law in the 2020 winter session.

World economy and monetary policy

The Federal Council received National Bank President Thomas Jordan and Bank Council President Barbara Janom Steiner for an annual discussion. According to the announcement, the focus of the talks was on the development of the global economy and the Swiss economy, as well as the challenges for the monetary policy of the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The latter emphasized that against the background of the highly valued Swiss franc, the still not fully utilized macroeconomic production capacities and the medium-term moderate inflation forecasts, its expansionary monetary policy remains necessary.

Surcharges for accident insurance

The Federal Council wants to lower the surcharges that insured persons pay when they pay the compulsory accident insurance in installments. Because of the current low interest rate environment, the surcharges on installment payments are significantly too high, as the government announced. The Federal Council has now opened the consultation process for the amendment of the relevant ordinance. The surcharge should now correspond to an annual interest rate of one percent. Today it is based on an interest rate of five percent. The change is scheduled to take effect in 2023.