Parliamentary stalemate blocks unilateral Swiss sanctions

Switzerland will not stand alone when issuing sanctions against other countries, such as Russia. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

The Senate has voted against a change in the law that would allow Switzerland to unilaterally sanction countries and individuals in addition to following those of the European Union.

This content was published on September 19, 2022 - 16:22

At present, the Swiss government can only opt to follow sanctions already imposed by the EU or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE).

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Switzerland has followed EU sanctions against Russian entities and individuals.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives called for Switzerland to impose sanctions on its own volition. But on Monday, the other parliamentary chamber voiced its disagreement.

The Senate followed the government's recommendation to keep the current status quo on sanctions as a change in policy could further expose Switzerland to counter-measures by other countries.

A similar decision was taken by Senate last year before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The stalemate between the parliamentary chambers looks unlikely to be broken despite the issue going back to the House of Representatives for another look.

Santioned Russians in Switzerland

In a separate development, the Swiss migration office has identified seven sanctioned Russians with residency permits in Switzerland.

Ministers told parliament that various options are being examined, including the revocation of permits and possible expulsions from Switzerland.

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