Minister criticises asylum policy

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga believes Switzerland’s asylum policy over the past 20 years has neither solved problems nor boosted public confidence.

This content was published on February 7, 2011 minutes and agencies

In an interview with the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, Sommaruga spoke of a “crisis of credibility”.

“Over the past 20 years the public has been fooled into thinking that multiple tightenings of the asylum law have made Switzerland unattractive for asylum seekers. But these revisions have neither solved the problems nor generated confidence among the public,” she said.

Sommaruga also addressed the issue of foreign workers. When asked about the dilemma that foreign workers were necessary in Switzerland but they also made local Swiss feel uncomfortable, she admitted this was “basically unsolvable”.

“I believe that for the moment we simply have to put up with this tension,” she said. “Look at the catering industry or care sector – without foreigners it doesn’t work.”
Better integration was necessary, she said, specifically concerning job chances.
She added that the government was keeping an eye on the events in Egypt, which she said could potentially trigger floods of refugees.
“The routes are short between us and North Africa over the Mediterranean and Italy via Turkey,” she said.

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