The four government parties have strongly condemened right-wing extremism in Switzerland. At their traditional Von Wattenwyl talks in Berne, the parties pledged to fight intolerance and adopted a zero-tolerance policy.This content was published on September 1, 2000 - 23:10
The Christian Democrats, Radical Party, the Social Democrats and the People's Party gather regularly throughout the year to discuss topical issues. Neo-Nazism and the country's relations with the European Union topped the meeting's agenda.
Franco Cavalli, the group's spokesman, reported that the government parties were united in their opposition to right-wing extremism, but were divided over its underlying causes.
The Social Democrats and the People's Party differed the most about what gave rise to such extremist tendencies.
The government minister, Moritz Leuenberger, said at the meeting that the fight against right-wing extremism was not only the task of the government, but should extend to the political parties. He stressed that it was important not to demonise the phenomenon, but to understand where the sentiments were originating from.
The four government parties said that the bilateral treaties that Switzerland has negotiated with the European Union will not come into effect as scheduled in January 2001 but within the first half of the year.
The seven mainly commercial accords, covering issues such as transport, the free movement of people and research, had to be ratified by the parliaments of all 15 EU member states this year if they were to come into effect in January.
Several countries, including France, have reportedly told Berne their parliaments will not consider the issue before their winter sessions.
The Swiss people gave the treaties the go-ahead in a referendum in May, and since then government ministers have been rallying support for early ratification in European capitals.
swissinfo with agencies
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