Parmelin’s chatter at round tables

Wirtschaftsminister Guy Parmelin
SVP Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin with mass round tables. (Image: Confederation)

Economy Minister and SVP Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin convenes one round table after another. What is the point to all of these meetings?

The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Guy Parmelin, has once again invited people to a round table.

Representatives from the Swiss defense industry, relevant associations and the federal administration met today, Wednesday, to exchange ideas, the EAER administration announced in Bern.

Two hurdles

The topics discussed were current developments in security and economic policy as well as the role of the defense industry in this regard. As an open economy and a neutral state, Switzerland today faces two major challenges, the statement continued. 

“First, with the emerging formation of economic and technological blocs. Second, with the war in Ukraine, which seems to mark a return to military alliances that could favor an alliance-oriented procurement policy,” the communiqué vaguely read.

Let off steam?

On the one hand, the event took stock of current developments in Europe and the rest of the world. On the other hand, the participants discussed the legal and political challenges that Switzerland is facing.

At the same time, those present had the opportunity to express their expectations of the EAER and the federal administration.

Making wishes known

The defense industry and the relevant associations are concerned about Switzerland’s reputation and reliability and see themselves at a disadvantage in relation to their competitors abroad in terms of supply capability.

They would therefore like to see, among other things, an improvement in the legal framework and greater recognition of the importance of the defense industry for Switzerland’s security.

Wrong way

More than just a nod of the head and a shrug of the shoulders, it should not be the end of all of this. It’s nice that all of this has been said openly.

But Switzerland certainly can’t do much with it.

In fact, concerns such as improving the legal framework should be addressed in a completely different way. Increased recognition of the importance of the Swiss defense industry is probably a concern for all participants in the round table.

However, Minister of Economy Parmelin is constantly organizing such round tables.

Whole room full of people

In mid-October 2022, Parmelin’s seventh (!) round table with the Swiss export industry already took place. The outlook had dimmed and inflation, the strong Swiss franc, persistent supply bottlenecks and the blocked European policy were weighing on the export industry, as Economiesuisse announced after the meeting.

That Switzerland could slip into a possible energy shortage was also a topic. Clearly, there was a separate round table with Parmelin, business representatives and the cantons, as Swiss television SRF reported officiously.

“But a whole room was needed to bring together all of the representatives. Among them, for example, employees, employers and cantons.”

Failure as federal president

The committee had finally set up a working group to examine the various proposals of the participants in the round table, it was said rather meagerly about the result.

So far, no tangible result of all the round tables has reached the public.

Probably all the round tables will end up like the one once held by Parmelin during his time as Federal President on the subject of Switzerland’s tenancy law, which has also reported upon.

Stagnation in the offices

There was even a study on the topic of tenancy law and then the whole thing was buried by Parmelin’s department itself.

The Federal Office for Housing (BWO) was to ‘follow the developments closely’ and to ‘propose changes if necessary,’ it said in conclusion.

So, nothing but expenses – but it was nice to have talked about it anyway, was the general tenor.

All the other meetings under the auspices of ‘Mr. Round Table’ with the Swiss export industry, the energy sector and now with the arms industry are likely to end in much the same way.


Parmelin’s chatter at round tables

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