Press overview for Sunday, November 20, 2022

Bern (awp/ats) – The successor to Simonetta Sommaruga and Ueli Maurer in the Federal Council and the police protection of another Federal Councilor, Alain Berset, make headlines in the Sunday press. The health insurance companies are also in demand. Here is the key information Keystone-ATS has not yet confirmed:

Le Matin Dimanche: The PLR ​​could choose a personality from the PS candidates’ ticket to succeed the resigning Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga if Jura State Councilor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider appears there alongside a German-speaking woman, says Le Matin Sunday. PLR President Thierry Burkart spoke to the parliamentary group on Friday and said the party leadership believed that a German-speaking person should replace Simonetta Sommaruga. No decision has been made at the moment, PLR group chairman Damien Cottier tells the newspaper, but he confirms that everything remains open: “We have always voted on the map and intend to continue to do so. but […] both the spirit and the letter of the constitution indicate that it is a German seat today”.

SonntagsZeitung/NZZ am Sonntag: In the by-election of the resigning UDC Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer on December 7th, the Greens could give preference to Hans-Ueli Vogt over Albert Rösti in order to prevent the Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC ) does not fall into the hands of the SVP, the Sunday newspaper and the NZZ am Sonntag report. Bern National Councilor Albert Rösti, who has already spoken out in favor of DETEC in the event of an election, enjoys the sympathy of many Greens. But tactical considerations now play a bigger role, writes the Sunday newspaper. Former National Councilor Andrea Hämmerle (PS/GR) shares this opinion in the NZZ am Sonntag. According to him, former National Councilor Hans-Ueli Vogt has every chance of being elected. With the votes from Eastern Switzerland, the Zurich SVP could get 90 of the 123 votes needed, adds Hämmerle.

Le Matin Dimanche/SonntagsZeitung: Due to threats related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the police even protected Federal Councilor Alain Berset in his second home, a chalet in a secret location in the Vaud Alps, Le Matin Sunday and the SonntagsZeitung report. The site is lined with surveillance cameras and until at least last spring the health minister’s mountain stays were surrounded by a very extensive security perimeter. The armed protection also extended to the hikes in the mountains of the Freiburg socialist. “When he goes for a walk, he is always with his two agents,” explains a resident of the hamlet in the newspaper. “It is two men or a couple disguised as hikers. You follow him 50 meters behind him and watch the scenery when he stops.” After a spike in threats against elected officials in 2021, the situation appears to have eased. Since the spring, Mr Berset’s surveillance has been reduced.

Le Matin Dimanche/SonntagsBlick: More than 110 million francs were spent by health insurers in Switzerland in 2021 to attract new policyholders, reveals Le Matin Dimanche. This sum consists of advertising expenditure for compulsory insurance of CHF 62.4 million, commissions paid to external brokers including comparison persons of CHF 40.8 million and commissions for financing staff of CHF 7.3 million. But behind this amount there are significant differences between the funds. The newspaper calculated that the costs per insured person are between 52.5 francs and zero francs. For the months of September and October 2022 alone, advertising expenditure reached CHF 14.2 million compared to CHF 12.6 million in the previous year, according to the market research institute Media Focus.

The health insurance companies have spent record sums on advertising in the past few weeks, says Felix Schneuwly from Comparis in the newspaper and speaks of a frightening development. “These are costs that the insured person has to pay in the end.” These expenses are legal, replies Le Matin Dimanche Marc Schmutz, head of the operational monitoring section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOSP). “There is no quantified upper limit for expenditure on advertising, but the law stipulates that administrative expenditure must correspond to economic management”.

NZZ am Sonntag: Gas transport in Switzerland is not sufficiently protected, according to a report by the Swiss Confederation that was sent to NZZ am Sonntag. In particular, protection of the infrastructure against sabotage is insufficient. The federal experts recommend minimum standards for the protection of buildings in order to better secure above-ground installations. They are also demanding security clearances for staff working in gas network control rooms.

NZZ am Sonntag: The migratory pressure on Switzerland’s southern border is increasing, writes the NZZ am Sonntag. Tens of thousands of young men from the Maghreb, Egypt, Bangladesh and countries south of the Sahara are trying to get from northern Italy to Germany or France via Switzerland. In July, 537 people were intercepted by Swiss border guards. In October, that number rose to 2,435. According to witnesses quoted by the newspaper, the number of unreported cases is said to be at least as high. According to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), only 190 people arrested in October have applied for asylum in Switzerland. The others should continue on their way.

SonntagsBlick: Qatar, host of the FIFA World Cup, wanted to buy espionage technology from a Swiss company eight years ago, reports SonntagsBlick. Representatives of the Qatari army contacted the company Boger Electronics from the Appenzell municipality of Gais. The emirate was interested in IMSI catchers, surveillance devices that can eavesdrop on cell phones. The order value was 6 million Swiss francs. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs had given the green light. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Federal Intelligence Service (SRK) did not object, but the case was ultimately unsuccessful. According to the Appenzell company, the federal government would have taken too long to check the application for approval.

NZZ am Sonntag: Swiss schools are violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the NZZ am Sonntag asserts. While the document provides for children’s right to be heard in all decisions affecting them, this provision is not yet applied across Switzerland. And where it is used, there are sometimes problems, Irène Inderbitzin, director of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, notes in the newspaper. The arbitration board must regularly help children and young people assert their rights, she explains. “Sometimes there is a misconception that children are protected from embarrassing questions or simply because the professionals are not sufficiently trained.”

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

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