Interviews with the presidents of the National Council and the Council of States
What priorities have you set for your year as president?
aim is promote cohesion, confidence and a zest for life. In times of crisis
such as these, there needs to be solidarity between young and old, between the
country’s different regions, and between people working in different sectors,
as not everyone has been affected by the pandemic to the same extent.
Alongside your work as a member of parliament, you are also a farmer,
auctioneer and tour operator. How do you manage to fit it all in?
managed well for 30 years. I have a great wife, a wonderful family and a good
circle of friends. And as a former battalion commander in the Swiss army, I
have learned the art of how to organise systematically. It’s certainly a great
advantage that I live very close to Bern and don't have a long commute.
What will you set out to achieve during your year as president?
aim will be to try to stimulate the special culture in the Council of States. In
the Council of States, we conduct our debates through reasoned argument based
on facts in order to reach the best solution. We should continue to carefully
foster and uphold virtues such as giving careful consideration to the long-term
interests of the state. In doing so, we serve as a valuable counterpoint to the
more party-political and very often personal interest-driven nature of business
in the National Council.
Where do you see Switzerland in five years’ time?
I hope that COVID-19 is no longer with us. Beyond that, I think that we need to
work on our relations with the European Union. I hope that Switzerland can
retain its independence in the coming years. We have to position ourselves
economically, socially and culturally so that in five to ten years’ time we
will be able to say that Switzerland is where we want to live.