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Motion on the “coalition of the willing” in the fall session of the Federal Council

15. September 2021

The fall session has started taking place from September 13 in the National Parliament. Today, on September 14, it is very likely that the motion 19.4034 “Humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean. Switzerland should participate in the distribution mechanism of the “Coalition of the Willing””, will be dealt with materially, two years after its submission. Several politicians have put it on the agenda.

The motion asks the Federal Council to show solidarity with European border states and the states of the “coalition of the willing” by participating in the “solidarity mechanism for the distribution of people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea “1. Two possibilities are proposed in this regard:

  1. the inclusion of a minimum percentage (2 percent) of survivors on board each NGO ship, so that the solidarity mechanism is predictable and avoids long waiting periods that prolong the suffering of the survivors.
  2. supporting coastal states, particularly Italy, Malta, and Spain – which currently bear the main responsibility for receiving people – by taking in several hundred people, which would relieve the burden on the reception centers of these states.

Even if the focus in the last weeks was on a great solidarity with individuals in Afghanistan, the Mediterranean Sea remains a central place where European deterrence takes place unhindered. Rescue ships are still waiting several days for the allocation of a safe harbor, while the people on board need to get ashore and to a safe place as soon as possible2. The Federal Council also contributes financially to Frontex operations undertaken by the Libyan Coast Guards, which returns shipwrecked people to detention centers where mistreatment and other human rights abuses are widespread3.

The federal government, however, does not seem to be touched or altered by these points. It sees no need for action in its own policy and recommends rejecting the motion. However, Seebrücke is of the opinion that it is not enough to support the member states at the european external borders financially. Switzerland must act actively and show solidarity with people who need international protection for various reasons and have a right to claim it.

The Federal Council can no longer continue unnoticed a racist migration policy while citizens push for an open welcoming culture.

The Federal Council rejected the motion on 21 September 2021.


1 https://www.parlament.ch/de/ratsbetrieb/suche-curia-vista/geschaeft?AffairId=20194037

2 https://twitter.com/MSF_Sea/status/1429550099655544834?s=19

3 https://www.parlament.ch/centers/eparl/sessions/2021%20III/Tagesordnung%20EJPD%20N%20D.pdf p.9

Le Courrier 22.09.2021