In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, many governments across the world have struggled with coming up with an adequate response. In Switzerland, however, Die Grüne (“The Greens”) recently presented a plan to the federal Parliament that aims to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in the country. This comprehensive document presented in Council offers three main points for a durable recovery, and adds onto an overall successful year of the party in Switzerland.
Built on the founding principles of social and environmental equity, the plan outlines three main steps Die Grüne hope to undertake in the coming months to achieve a sustainable transition to a post-pandemic Switzerland. Overall, the plan seeks to address the environmental, socio-economic, as well as psychological needs of the Swiss population amid the health crisis.
Concerns are particularly high when it comes to elders and people with disabilities or mental illnesses, who have been especially vulnerable to the pandemic and its consequences. Additionally, the plan emphasizes international cooperation and the recognition of institutions such as the WHO, whose role and importance have been seriously downplayed by heads of state across the world according to Die Grüne.
Die Grüne also put forward socio-economic measures to be taken, citing a lack of initiative from the incumbent centre-right UDC party to come up with a safety net for growing unemployment in the country, which soared to nearly 10% of the total workforce by the end of the summer as a result of COVID-19. The need for such economic incentives is even more urgent considering women and younger people are particularly affected. Denouncing the UDC response, which has prioritized bailout funds to large companies in the country over stagnant unemployment benefits, Die Grüne‘s plan seeks to provide a social approach to facilitate economic recovery.
This plan comes shortly after the second wave of the pandemic hit record numbers across the country in the fall of 2020, amounting to nearly 10 000 new cases daily in early November. In this sense, the new plan comes at a time when durable and effective action is needed. As it turns out, this plan is reflective of an overall successful year for Die Grüne in Switzerland.
Earlier this year, the party pushed for a bill legalizing marriage for same-gender couples at the federal level in Switzerland. The bill had been introduced over 20 years ago by former member of the Swiss National Council and former leader of Die Grüne Ruth Genner, and was voted into the constitution on 18 December 2020. Just two months before that, Die Grüne also managed to pass a bill in Council that sets new restrictions on carbon and gas emissions in Switzerland, with new goals to be reached by 2040. This bill was drafted in response to the five-year anniversary of the Paris Climate Accords.
In light of Die Grüne‘s many successes this year, both at the cantonal and federal level, this new plan offers a glimmer of hope that the COVID-19 solution in Switzerland will follow a green, inclusive framework.