Tag Archive: Politics

Living In The Present

It’s that time of year again, time to cast the runes, consult the iChing, shake the Magic Eight Ball and read the tea leaves. What will happen in 2019? Will it be as bad as 2018 when positive returns were hard to come by, as rare as affordable health care or Miami Dolphin playoff games? Will China’s economy succumb to the pressure of US tariffs and make a deal?

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EU needs more flexible negotiation tactics: UBS chairman

The European Union should stop dictating terms to Switzerland and start negotiating an acceptable compromise if it wants to find agreement on future ties, says UBS chairman Axel Weber. In an interview with the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, Weber said the current EU demands are unlikely to be approved by the Swiss people should they be put to a referendum.

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Poll finds majority for greenhouse tax on plane tickets

An overwhelming majority of people in Switzerland appear to be in favour of introducing a tax on plane tickets to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An online poll, published by the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, showed that 70% of respondents said they were prepared to pay between CHF12 to CHF50 ($12.2-$50.8) towards a CO2 tax depending on the duration of a flight.

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Swiss foreign minister defends proposed EU deal

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has rejected criticism of the results of negotiations with the European Union about a framework accord, encompassing all aspects of political relations between Switzerland and the 28-nation bloc.

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Bern corporate tax cuts flop at ballot box

Voters in canton Bern have rejected a proposal to lower corporate taxes, dealing a surprise blow to the government and parliament trying to give the canton a competitive edge. Nearly 54% of voters on Sunday came out against a planned lowering of tax rates for companies headquartered in the canton meeting certain criteria.

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Home-care services increase, nursing home stays stagnate

Better at home than in a home: almost 350,000 people made use of assistance and home-care services (Spitex) last year, 10,000 more than in 2016. In contrast, the number of residents of old-age and nursing homes remained constant at 149,000, 15% of them for a short stay. Spitex, a Swiss non-profit organisation that provides in-home nursing services like changing bandages and administering medicine, chalked up nearly 16 million hours of home care and...

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Switzerland signs up to ‘Paris Call’ for a safer internet

In Paris on Monday, several hundred governments and tech companies – and Switzerland – signed a new charter for trust and security online. In the so-called ‘Paris Call’, launched by French President Macron at the UNESCO Internet Governance Forum in Paris, signatories pledged to support “an open, safe, stable, accessible, and peaceful cyberspace” where international law applies, and individual rights are protected.

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Investigating suspected welfare cheats – where to draw the line

On 25 November 2018, Swiss will vote on whether to accept laws allowing detectives to uncover welfare fraud. Currently, there is nothing specific in Swiss law covering the practice. In the past, investigators have been used to gather evidence on disability and accident beneficiaries. Between 2009 and 2016, detectives were used on around 220 investigations a year, of which around two thirds were found guilty of fraud.

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Tax System Problems Result in CHF 1.8bn Shortfall

The Federal Tax Administration’s IT project Insieme was a financial disaster and its replacement isn’t much better, according to the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO). Systems are unreliable and underperforming, with billions in tax demands still outstanding.

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Credit Suisse freezes $5 billion in US-Russia sanctions move

The Swiss Credit Suisse bank froze some CHF5 billion ($5 billion) of assets linked to Russia earlier this year in an effort to toe the line with US sanctions levied against Moscow. The bank froze the funds in the second quarter of 2018, according to Reuters, in response to sanctions introduced by Washington in April.

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Swiss Trade Unions to Boycott Talks on EU Labour Negotiations

Switzerland’s largest national trade union centre has refused to participate in discussions led by Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann on easing measures for wages and working conditions as part of framework negotiations with the European Union (EU).

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Majority favours later retirement for women, according to survey

In Switzerland, the official retirement age for women is 64, a year earlier than it is for men. A poll by gfs.bern shows that around two thirds are in favour of raising the retirement age of women to 65. Only 16% are against the idea, with a further 18% somewhat against it. Men (78%) are more in favour of the change than women (54%), according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

This will be a fairly quick update as I just posted a Mid-Year Review yesterday that covers a lot of the same ground. There were, as you’ll see below, some fairly positive reports since the last update but the markets are not responding to the better data. Markets seem to be more focused on the trade wars and the potential fallout. I would also note that at least some of the recent strength in the data is related to the tariffs.

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Fribourg – moves to axe government pensions for life

Switzerland’s government is working hard to find ways to fix a looming state pension shortfall. Two politicians in the canton of Fribourg have decided to seek savings by attempting to cut lifetime government pensions granted after short stints in the job, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.

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Italy Defies Gravity and Risk to Fiscal Rectitude

Italian asset markets continue to fare better than many expected. The political uncertainty following the March election has been followed by confidence that the Five Star Movement and the (Northern) League will be able to put together a government in the coming days. If so, Italy would have taken half the time Germany did to cobble a government together after inconclusive elections.

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Internships – Switzerland’s Young Socialists caught preaching one thing and practicing another

In collaboration with the Swiss union Unia, Switzerland’s Young Socialists have launched a protest against the exploitation of interns. To get on the career ladder, many young people feel compelled to take internships offering little or no pay. The Young Socialists are demanding interns be better paid. Recent data from the Federal Statistical Office shows that 23% of young workers (15-24) are on short-term contracts, 41% of them interns.

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Swiss median monthly wage exceeds CHF6,500 ($6,506)

A government survey analysing wage structures in the Alpine nation found that the median salary for a full-time job in 2016 was CHF6,502 ($6,509) for the entire Swiss economy. The bottom 10% of Swiss earners had a salary of less than CHF4,313 ($4,317), while the best paid 10% earned more than CHF11,406 ($11,418) a month.

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Swiss share tax data with 41 nations

For the first time, Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has sent details on advance tax rulings to its partners in the spontaneous exchange of information deal. The FTA announced on Tuesdayexternal link that it had transmitted a first batch of 82 reports to a total of 41 states, including Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia. Some reports were exchanged with several partner countries.

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Raising Switzerland’s retirement age – like death and taxes

Last week, State Councillor Peter Hegglin (PDC/CVP) withdrew his motion demanding Switzerland’s retirement age automatically rise with life expectancy. He argues that Switzerland urgently needs to find a way to ensure the financial health of its pension system and raising the retirement age is the main way to do this.

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