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Ruedi Lustenberger: At the moment we’re probably feeling the impact of globalization more strongly than other comparable industrial nations. Switzerland has become a magnet for refugees of all kinds. Some are looking for work in our high-wage country, a second category wants to gain a foothold in our economic system as “false self-employed workers” under the protection of subcontractors. Added to that are thousands of real and fake asylum seekers every year who have fled from misery in their home countries and hope to have a better life here with us.
What’s more, pressure on our country will continue to grow in monetary terms, as well. Most countries on Earth have an enormous debt burden. And when that’s the case, you take money from wherever money is still to be found. That’s why Switzerland, our banks in particular, has become a target for all sorts of demands.
Ruedi Lustenberger: Our economy still relies on hiring a certain number of experts from abroad. And that holds true despite the fact that our dual professional training system is considered to be the best in the world. STEM fields, in other words science, technology, engineering and mathematics, need to be fostered even more.
Our relationship to the EU represents another challenge. They only have a limited appreciation for our special status. That’s why we have to be careful when it comes to our relationship with our neighbors and refrain from thoughtlessly negotiating bilateral agreements.
Ruedi Lustenberger: The focus here is on securing and revamping the welfare institutions. Yet that just won’t be possible without making some painful cuts. It would be wrong to strain the inter-generational contract and ask the young generation to cross-finance the second pillar, too.
One area truly in need of improvement is our regional development planning. Here, too, we have lived beyond our means in the past. More careful use of our land is the order of the day.
President of the Swiss National Council
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