Swiss parliament starts autumn session: 5 most important issues

Swiss parliament starts autumn session: 5 most important issues

The Swiss parliament will meet again for its autumn session between September 11 and 29, which is the last before the elections on October 22. Here are five of the most important issues on the agenda for the National Council and the Council of States over the coming days. 

Health insurance premiums

One of the primary concerns of the Swiss parliament this session is how to get a hold on rapidly increasing premiums for health insurance in Switzerland. Both the National Council and the Council of States need to hammer out the final details of a relief initiative, which has been subject to numerous counter-proposals. 

In its current draft form, the initiative stipulates that insured people would only spend a maximum of 10 percent of their disposable income on health insurance premiums. If this limit was exceeded, the federal government and the canton would step in to reduce the premium. The draft law is unlikely to pass and so will be majorly amended in the autumn session to ensure a wider sweep of support. 

According to Blick, other counter-proposals still on the table include the possibility of allowing health insurers to access their policyholders’ data in order to inform them about possible savings or better care packages. The Commission wants to allow multi-year contracts and different ways of calculating premium discounts to make alternative insurance models more attractive. 

The Federal Council also wants to decide whether the different methods of financing outpatient and inpatient care within the Swiss healthcare system should be abolished. Currently, outpatient treatments are paid for by health insurance companies alone, whereas at least 55 percent of inpatient services (i.e. in hospitals) are financed by the cantons themselves. 

Incentives for climate protection 

After the CO2 law was rejected in a referendum, the Federal Council presented a new bill that, instead of focusing on taxes, penalties and bans, focuses on incentives to try to reduce carbon emissions. The Council of States will debate during the autumn session whether Switzerland’s climate protection goals can be achieved this way. 

Other climate-related topics on the agenda include a proposal to install solar panels on all new and majorly renovated buildings - although it appears that agreement is a long way off on this issue, with the National Council broadly in favour, and the Council of States firmly against. Regulations for water supply are also being debated, as is an initiative to secure electricity supply in Switzerland through 100 percent renewable energies

Arms exports

The issue of arms exports will also come up again during the autumn session. The Council of States has on its agenda a controversial motion from the Security Policy Commission, which wants to permit the Federal Council to allow the export of war material in exceptional cases - which would go against Switzerland’s commitment to neutrality

The Council of States will also decide whether 25 decommissioned Leopard 2 battle tanks can be sold back to Germany. Germany is said to have assured the Bundesrat that it would not pass the tanks on to Ukraine. 

Ban on tobacco advertising 

To protect children and young people, a ban on tobacco and e-cigarette advertising in printed media is expected to apply in Switzerland from 2026. The government also wants to ban tobacco companies from sponsoring national events where children might be present.

However, the Council of States Commission is moving to weaken both of these proposals by requesting exceptions to the rule. For instance, tobacco advertising might be allowed at events that are primarily aimed at adults, even if children might be present.

Abi Carter


Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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