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2015 in review Swiss president looks back on the year’s challenges

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga addresses the press at a breakfast on Monday


Terrorism in Paris and the refugee crisis were dominant themes in her year as Swiss president, and implementation of the immigration initiative took much of her time, said Simonetta Sommaruga in a meeting with the media on Monday. 

In the view of the President, globalisation has led to a feeling of insecurity, and the resulting trend toward nationalism and right-wing populism is “worrying”. 

Sommaruga called on the parties in the middle of the political spectrum to stand up for international law and the rule of law when issues are put to the Swiss people for a vote. It is crucial how the parties act in the coming years – whether they drift further to the right or set clear boundaries against the far right, she said. 

In connection with the refugee crisis and terrorism, Sommaruga emphasised that no country can tackle the challenges alone; cooperation is essential. She noted that the refugee crisis has had a comparatively small effect on Switzerland. 

The tensions between Switzerland and the European Union caused by the passage of the immigration initiative in February 2014 continue. A ‘yes’ vote in February 2016 on the ‘enforcement initiative’, designed to force implementation of a previous deportation initiative, could further complicate relations between the EU and Switzerland, Sommaruga said. 

Sommaruga is scheduled to meet the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on December 21. The basis for a solution has been created, and the political will is present, said Sommaruga, but "whether that’s enough, I don’t dare to forecast”.   

In Switzerland, the seven members of the cabinet take turns acting as president for one-year terms. Next year, economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann will take over the role of president from Sommaruga. and agencies

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