Council of the Swiss abroad 2017

Report by Ernst Notz, Delegate for the Swiss living Abroad (ASO) to the AGM and Tell Tale

Dear Swiss friends,

As your Central Canada Delegate to ASO, I am pleased to report to you what had happened in 2016. This will be my last report since – as announced some time ago – I will have to step down after 2 periods and 8 years attending and hopefully contributing to the semi-annual meetings and representing your interests. I do not qualify anymore since I have now permanently moved to Switzerland. Time to leave this interesting job to somebody else at the August 2017 meeting in Basle as per announcements made by the Swiss Club in our magazine Tell Tale.

The meetings in 2016 took place in Brunnen (April 16th as per my previous report) and the main congress in Bern between August 6/7th celebrating the 100 years ASO in the Swiss Council locations and on the Bundesplatz with the presence of BR Burkhalter and many Swiss celebrities. Please look up the internet: http://aso.ch/de/100-jahre-aso-1456236874/livestreaming

The most important topics discussed at the main meeting in August 2016 attended by 81 delegates (out of 125) were as follows:

  • Revue Suisse: EDA has asked ASO to safe CHF 400’000 in 2017. However, we responded to be able to safe only CHF 100’000 otherwise we will have to reduce our 6 publications down to 5 only. We are still waiting for a response from the Swiss Government.
  • Postfinance and other Swiss banks: some have canceled the credit cards but not all the accounts. ASO has protested the treatment of the Swiss living abroad and has asked the Swiss Council to intervene. The outcome is still pending.
  • E-Voting: still not working and only 5 cantons can offer a solution. This topic has been dragged on for far too long and it is surprising that this cannot be solved on a Federal basis, thus saving a lot of money. Understandably, security is of vital importance.
  • Jürg Burri of EDA reported on various developments in the works
  • Elections to ASO (for the period starting August 2017 – 2021): the procedures for the upcoming elections have been discussed in great details and new directives have been put in place. Possible candidates from the w/w 718 Swiss Clubs and 70 associated Clubs should be nominated and reported to ASO by June 30, 2017 (for the 4 year period starting August 2017 – 2021). E. Notz (EN) suggested that also board members of the various Swiss Chambers of Commerce should be able to be considered as candidate. The mandate and election formalities can be found in German (http://aso.ch/de/politik/asrwahlen-2017) and in French (http://aso.ch/fr/politique/elections-du-cse-2017). EN has intervened and asked ASO to introduce also the English language; this in view of the newly added delegates of the young Swiss Abroad. Decision is still pending.
  • Main Tasks and Goals of the future ASO: As a result of an inquiry directed to the ASO delegates:
  1. Intensify the flow of information to the Swiss Abroad
  2. Improved integration of the Young Swiss Abroad
  3. All Swiss Abroad should have the possibility to elect the delegates
  4. Furtherance in participating in the Swiss politics by Swiss Abroad by means of electronic voting
  5. Reinforcement of contacts among the Swiss Clubs in other countries and ASO
  6. Improvement of the visibility of ASO in Switzerland and abroad. Goal is to launch some activity campaigns.

Approaching elections as mentioned earlier will be handled by the Swiss Club in Toronto and hopefully in collaboration with the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The conditions to qualify as my successor are well known to both presidents and respective documents are available.

The next meeting will take place in Berne on March 25th, 2017 and the final one for me will be in Basle between August 18th to 20th.

I sincerely hope that I was able to contribute and positively represent you at these meetings. I was fighting hard to reverse the hard to understand decision to close the Consulate General in Toronto, I advocated the introduction of the English language to the meetings, helped to support the fight against discrimination of the Swiss Abroad (e.g. banking, health insurance, Old Age scheme, special law for the Swiss Abroad and recognition that we exist outside of Switzerland).

But I also cannot help to feel that we are often neglected and that many pending issues should be solved much faster and with less bureaucracy. Many topics are “Dauerbrenners”. Also matters of Europe related challenges were more important than what happens outside our Swiss neighboring countries, which is somewhat understandable since most of the Swiss Abroad live in Europe.

I am looking forward to introducing and helping my successor. Meanwhile please keep yourself posted with ASO developments by consulting the websites www.aso.ch and www.swisscommunity.org

I truly miss Canada and all of you!

Kind regards and thoughts

Ernst Notz

Via Suriert 5           Via S. Balestra 38A
7153 Falera             6600 Locarno
Tel. +41.79 882 3269
Ernst.notz@bluewin.ch