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“I want prevention to be the theme of my year as president”

Interview with Isabelle Moret

National Council President Isabelle Moret reveals which topics she’d particularly like to address in 2020.

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President of the National Council Isabelle Moret

President of the National Council Isabelle Moret

Leading a new and radically different parliament will not be easy. What principles will you base your leadership on? What are your priorities?

The newly elected members of parliament are still finding their feet. Part of my role is to help them to become integrated quickly and easily.

My two priorities for our debates are mutual respect and efficiency. It is very important to me that members of parliament listen to one another more carefully and that we work our way through the agendas for our parliamentary sessions efficiently.

What are the most urgent concerns in your view?

We have the opportunity to make this legislature a pivotal one. It’s up to us to tackle the important issues that the Swiss people expect a clear and rapid response to.

Firstly, family policy: equal pay for women and men, better support for people who care for elderly relatives and genuine tax equality between married and unmarried couples.

Another key consideration for this legislature is pensions.

Looking to the future, we also need to make our planet more sustainable, against the background of the climate crisis, the melting of the glaciers and the number of species threatened with extinction. In light of these environmental challenges, it is time for us to take strong action that will convince the majority of Swiss people.

Finally, the Swiss people’s main preoccupation is healthcare. We need to stabilize the costs so that we can get the premiums under control. We also need greater transparency for all the players in the healthcare sector and a better-quality service for everyone at the best possible price!

It will be hugely difficult from a political perspective to bring about a lasting reform of pensions. What possible long-term solutions are there? And how can parliament succeed in finding a compromise that will achieve a majority despite the differences of opinion?

Only a major compromise will enable us to introduce a reform of this kind.

We have already taken the first step in the form of the Tax reform and AHV financing (TRAF) project, which was approved by the people in May 2019. We need to make rapid progress with the AHV 21 reform project and turn our attention to the project for reforming the second pillar, which has been negotiated by the social partners.

The cornerstone of this future reform is to bridge the gap between women’s and men’s pensions, in particular in the second pillar where the difference is more than 60 percent, by improving the pensions of people on low incomes and part-time workers.

What direction are we taking with regard to our relationship with Europe?

The European Union is our main trading partner. This is why we need to consolidate the bilateral approach, which is essential to our economy and also to our research sector.

Personally, I think that the framework agreement should be signed as it stands. The points that give rise to questions can be resolved without changing the text of the agreement itself. The unions and the employers’ representatives must definitely negotiate new measures to counteract wage dumping and unfair competition. If these measures do not discriminate against the member states of the European Union, they do not need to be referred to in the framework agreement.

Do you believe that there is a growing divide between business and politics or between politics and society? If this is the case, how can we overcome it?

The strength of our political system lies in our direct democracy and our part-time parliament. Members of parliament who have another job alongside their parliamentary duties remain in close touch with the concerns of the people and the business world. This also means that parliament needs to consider changing the schedule of its sessions to allow for a better balance between political, professional and family life.

What are your personal goals for your year as President of the National Council?

I want prevention to be the theme of my year as president.

Preventing illness and disease, of course, so that people in Switzerland can have the best possible quality of life at each stage of their life and can live longer in good health.

But prevention is much more wide-ranging than that. It also includes preventing conflicts and peacekeeping, which are very important to Switzerland, preventing the risk of natural disasters and also preventing violence and abuse, particularly involving children.

The last area concerns the land, biodiversity and support for local agriculture and viticulture.

This is the thread that will run through my entire year in the form of various different campaigns.

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