The Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) is the legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). The CSA, elected by the Swiss communities abroad, acts as a representative of the Swiss diaspora. It defends the interests of Swiss expatriates before the authorities and public opinion in Switzerland and is therefore generally referred to as the ‘Parliament of the Swiss Abroad’.
The Oceania Council Members for the term 2017-2021 are:
The CSA meets twice a year in Switzerland for a day-long meeting to discuss important matters concerning the Swiss Abroad and to voice an opinion on current affairs on behalf of the expatriate community. The Council members from around the world convene in spring as well as in late summer at the Congress of the Swiss Abroad. Between sessions, routine business is handled by the Executive Board and the Administration Team. The CSA ensures that the voice of the Swiss expatriate community is heard.
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Duties and Responsibilities
On 27 September, the National Council (Nationalrat) followed the recommendation from the Economic Commission of the Lower House and rejected implementing the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with New Zealand. The majority of the members are of the opinion that the Swiss in New Zealand are disadvantaged over other Swiss living abroad, because of the Swiss pension (AHV) being confiscated by the New Zealand Government.
On 19 September, 2017, National Councillor and Swiss Abroad, Tim Guldimann (SP/ZH), together with 70 co-signatories, submitted a motion obliging the Federal Council to inform in the event that a draft law or a proposed amendment affects Swiss citizens abroad. This would allow deliberating such effects at an early stage in parliament.
The Swiss Council of States yesterday adopted a motion which requires all Swiss banks that are “too big to fail” to accept Swiss citizens living outside of Switzerland. The motion was submitted by Filippo Lombardi (CVP/Ticino) and adopted with 23 votes to 14 and 6 abstentions. The banks in question are UBS, Credit Suisse, Zuercher Kantonalbank, Raiffeisen and Postfinance.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 11 September 2017 – the National Council (NC) today adopted, by 178 votes to 4 with 7 abstentions, a motion tabled by the Foreign Affairs Commission of the NC on 4 July 2017. This motion requires that PostFinance revises its universal financial services to extend them to Swiss Abroad in order to enable them to fulfill their financial obligations. PostFinance, the main shareholder of which is state-owned Swiss Post, has a special responsibility towards Swiss citizens.
In the lead-up to the Congress of the Swiss Abroad held in Basel, 116 delegates from all over the world assembled in the historic town hall on Friday 18 August for the constituent meeting of the new Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) for the term 2017-2021.
The Swiss expatriates are turning up the heat on Swiss institutions to grant discrimination-free access to financial services. The issue has plagued the community for nearly a decade.
Adrian Plitzco from SBS Radio interviews Katja Wallimann Gates who has been elected as a member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad. She explains what the organisation stands for and how she herself wants to contribute (Swiss-German). Echo Helvetia
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 4 July 2017 – The Foreign Policy Commission of the National Council has lodged a motion (19 to 0 votes with 1 abstention), calling on PostFinance to investigate the extension of basic financial services for Swiss Abroad. Since 2008 Swiss Abroad find it increasingly difficult to maintain a banking relationship in Switzerland. Our countrymen abroad need a bank account to maintain health insurance, facilitate social security contributions or to conduct financial transactions related to real estate ownership.
Swiss citizens residing in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue and American Samoa will have the opportunity to apply for a new Swiss passport and/or ID card in Kaponga or in Timaru instead of flying to Wellington for this purpose. This service will be available from 2 to 6 October 2017.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 28 June 2017 – GENEVA: Yesterday, in the presence of the directors of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), representatives of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the canton of Geneva, as well as National Councillor (SP/GE) and member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), Carlo Sommaruga, the electronic urn containing 1,378 ballots from Swiss citizens living in Mexico and Australia was opened. 7.43% of the eligible voters in Australia and 6.96% of those in Mexico participated in this premiere. For the first time, they were able to elect their delegates to the CSA online, using the CHVote electronic voting system made available by the canton of Geneva.
Through an interpellation*, National Councillor, Roland Rino Büchel (SVP/SG), has asked the Federal Council when it intends to conclude a social security insurance agreement with New Zealand.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 16 June 2017 – State Councillor and Vice-President of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), Filippo Lombardi (CVP/TI) has today lodged a motion in relation to system-relevant banks, which was signed by 35 members of the Council of States. He calls on the Council of States to ensure that all Swiss nationals can open an account with such a bank. This in return for the implicit state guarantee to save them if necessary.