A new story from Monocle 24: The Globalist


Well, let's continue now with today's newspapers and joining me from our studio in Zürich is Florian ugly, who's a senior associate at four ounce, the Swiss foreign policy think tank. Florian, good morning. Thanks for coming back in. I know that you're there in our studio with the cafe right by there, the wonderful smell of coffee. I miss that studio and you're easy access to instant refreshment. Good morning, 13. It's lovely indeed, so you come in and the first thing you grab a coffee a cup of water and then some newspapers and just the studio is right in the back of the cafe so it is quite a nice morning greeting here indeed. And of course that does mean that there's a certain amount of noise coming through from the cafe but it's all part of the atmosphere. So you've grabbed your papers, you've had a look through what's jumped out at you. So we'll start with the story in Switzerland, and that's a resignation. So leave your lower issues. I should say the state secretary in Switzerland responsible for the negotiations with the European Union, and you have to know that this is probably the most important post in the foreign service of Switzerland. She resigned on Wednesday. I mean, it went public on Wednesday. And since then, there is quite a bit of soul searching going on as to why she resigned because you have to know for context that that's the third resignation in only 5 years. And for Switzerland, you know, that's a cycle we're not used to. So any clue as to why. So well, I mean, we're really, we're stuck in negotiations with the European Union. So I'm leaving a lawyer. She's a very well renowned diplomat. She has had several posters ambassadors before. So she has all the expertise that you could think of. But she's stuck because there is no clear political mandate. So we're kind of in a gridlock where the European Union demands that there is a framework agreement with Switzerland that would also basically establish rules as to what happens when Switzerland and the European Union don't agree as to how to proceed on a bilateral accord, so be it on trade accords or be it on courts regards to education, agriculture, policy, traffic, or traffic going from north to south, south to north through Switzerland. So there are all these different agreements and that you want a dedicated dispute settlement mechanism in Switzerland, there is no political majority on that. And yet you have the entire or a large part of the economy really pushing for that because everything is in gridlock now and there is no possibility to negotiate future deals or deals on emerging issues with the European Union such as, for example, the mets tech issue met to take industry which complained very loudly that they don't and that they're not no longer allowed to export into the European Union without restrictions. So you have the situation where politically it's just not possible. And yet kind of the economy and also large parts of society actually are in favor. And that is, I think, just a very frustrating posture, leave you alone is now 62 years old, so it's kind of towards retirement and she's going to become the ambassador in Berlin, so apparently she just thinks it's more rewarding to spend the last three years in the embassy in Berlin. Networking and meeting interesting people as opposed to having this frustrating job in Brussels with basically no support from the federal council and the political system. And it also points to a quite weak foreign minister, so Ignacio gas is the foreign minister of Switzerland. He does not have the weight in the federal council to really equip this state secretary with an actual mandate and the political backing to go to Brussels and really negotiate something. So it's really points to the fact that this issue is just going nowhere and a resignation so close to the retirement to me is really a sign that she doesn't see any opportunity or any way that this goes anywhere in the next two to three years. So it's just quite frustrating overall because it's such an important issue for Switzerland. But who takes on the job? Is anyone willing to do it? We don't know yet. So they have established a search commission and you have to know that before Libya lawyer Robert balzaretti he also took this job only for two and a half years before him Pascal Betty's will who's now the Swiss ambassador at the UN in New York. She only did it for less than a year. So it seems to be this job that nobody really wants despite it being the most important job in the suicide administration in the foreign service. So it's really quite controversial and as of now there are no rumors and there is nobody who put him or herself in place for this job because indeed I think there's not so much appetite to take it on. Well, whoever does has got a massive hill to climb in front of them. Speaking of which, let's talk about this imminent mountain slide. Yes, this is it. An entertaining somewhat entertaining story. So we have two villages in Switzerland with exactly the same name, very spelled the same as well. So it's brilliant and brilliant, both very Swiss German towns. One is in the bernese Alps and the other one is also in the eastern part of Switzerland and one namely the one in was never in the news in the past 50 years I would say. Because not many people go there, but now it is threatened by a mountain slide. So there are 83 people living in the village, and they have to be evacuated by today 6 p.m.. And it's affecting the other Brienne because people think they've got to leave from there. So people think that I don't think people think they have got to leave from there, but people tourists think are afraid that they have to rebook because actually many tourists go to brilliant and burn, and they think the place where they booked an apartment or a hotel room is threatened by a mountain slide because it's been all over the news and CNN and The New York Times. And there has been actually it's quite funny because through this little story we got to know how Switzerland handles imminent catastrophe. Catastrophe and there are different color codes and we were just talking about in the studio before, which is quite not intuitive. So we're in orange now, orange means people have to be evacuated. But so nobody's allowed to sleep there anymore. Kettle can remain, and people can come back during the day.

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