Federal Councillor Parmelin fails with his Round Table

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin’s unsuccessful round table (Image: Benjamin Child / unsplash)

With much fanfare, Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin launched a round table on the subject of tenancy law during his time as Federal President. Now, the whole thing is being quietly buried.

“On June 21, 2021, a round table was held under the leadership of Federal President Guy Parmelin, at which representatives of interest groups and experts discussed the situation in Swiss tenancy law,” it sounded over the official channel of the Swiss government. The round table is part of a discussion process that is intended to initiate a constructive conversation among the relevant players, the statement continued.

Swiss tenancy law is a central area of law in the Swiss state system and most people will be affected by it sooner or later, officials wrote on the importance of the matter.

Need for reform sighted

“It has experienced various attempts at revision and controversial discussions in recent decades,” they stressed. Nevertheless, the current provisions of tenancy law have hardly changed since 1990, the Swiss official warned.

It was a pompous event. In addition to Andreas Rickenbacher, the former Bernese government councillor who moderated the round table. The Federal Office for Housing (BWO) had also been involved. In addition, numerous organizations, such as the homeowners’ association HEV or the association of business tenants, housing cooperatives and experts from science were present.

Further discussions

The whole thing was based on a study by the gfs.Bern research institute, which had presented an almost 100-page analysis of the situation and the needs. As a result of the round table, it came out “that some of the questions raised deserve additional clarification. Therefore, a consultation phase with the involved stakeholders will now follow,” the BWO said on its website in this regard.

SVP Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin has caused a lot of trouble with a round table. (Image: Parliamentary Services)

Subsequently, President Parmelin will decide on the further procedure, it was also quoted.

Quiet funeral

Now a lot of time has passed and Parmelin has not been a federal president for a long time. But then the officials surprised the public on Wednesday evening in a jumble of various media releases also with the statement that the “discussion on the topic of tenancy law will not be continued”.

But wait – wasn’t there something initiated with much fanfare and effort by the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) more than a year ago? Exactly! The mega round table and the subsequent clarifications.

No sense seen

“The consultations with the social partners in the rental sector have shown that the conditions for continuing the process are not met,” it said dryly this time. Only a minority had supported the planned procedure, the EAER explained.

The majority of the associations had either announced that they no longer wished to participate in the process or did not consider the continuation to be expedient under the given circumstances. Therefore, the continuation of the discussion process made no sense.

Thus, the whole thing was buried and the BWO should follow the developments closely and propose changes if necessary. So, nothing but expenses.

Money wasted

But if you had read the original gfs.Bern study at least to the end, you would have found the following sentences anyway: “Basically, both the organizations concerned and the population have largely come to terms with the current tenancy law,” it divulged in the synthesis.

“As a result, it is not surprising that the big idea of radically changing the current tenancy law is not in the focus of the organizations concerned, let alone the population,” the experts concluded at the time.

So the whole round table could actually have been dispensed with altogether.


Federal Councillor Parmelin fails with his Round Table

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