During the autumn session, the Parliament approved the second cohesion contribution to selected EU member states (see article of 14.10.2021). Among other things, this was done in the hope that the EU would accommodate Switzerland in its participation in Horizon Europe. These hopes were disappointed and the dossier is still blocked. Now the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council has come up with a new idea: it proposes to increase the cohesion contribution by around CHF 953 million. The condition for a possible increase is that the association agreements between Switzerland and the EU for Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, ITER, Euratom and Erasmus+ can be signed by 30 June 2022.
Gene Technology Act: Council of States discusses moratorium
The National Council extended the moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms in agriculture for another four years (until the end of 2025) by a large majority during the autumn session. Now it is the turn of the Council of States. It is to be expected that it will also support the extension of the moratorium. However, it is up for debate whether there should be an exception for genetically modified organisms into which no foreign DNA has been inserted. This concerns new genetic engineering methods such as CRISPR/Cas, also known as gene scissors. The decision in the preliminary committee was extremely close in favour of the exemption (6:6 with a casting vote by the committee president). The debate will take place on Thursday morning, 2 December (from about 8.30 a.m.). It can be followed live on www.parlament.ch.