According to first enquiries a basic online bank account is apparently available from CHF 6/month. The terms and conditions depend on the individual circumstances of the applicant and interested Swiss Abroad in Oceania are urged to make their own enquiries directly with the bank.
While this can be viewed as a very positive development, time will tell how sucessful it will be in practice. If you have any experience to share – positive or negative, please contact your delegates. We are very keen to gather as much information as possible from Swiss Abroad wishing to establish a bank account with BCGE.
Since 2008 it has become increasingly difficult for the Swiss Abroad to open or maintain a bank account in Switzerland within reasonable conditions.
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) has undertaken several interventions in order to find a solution to this problem, which affects a considerable number of Swiss citizens abroad.
For one the OSA has intervened directly with the banks, and indirectly through the Swiss Bank Association, the Association of State Banks (Kantonalbanken), the Swiss Banking Ombudsman and the Federal Department of Finance. The OSA also contacted the price-supervisor who conducted an investigation into the banking conditions for Swiss Abroad.
Several parliamentary interventions were submitted and the OSA has given statements to legal consultations. Unfortunately, on 4 May 2017, the National Council has narrowly rejected a motion by Roland Rino Büchel (SVP/SG). The move demanded that all Swiss Abroad be allowed to open a bank account with a Swiss system-relevant bank.
Within a very short time, numerous complaints about discriminatory business practices were submitted by Swiss abroad, media presence was sought by the OSA directorate and two new parliamentary interventions were lodged. One was to oblige banks to publish relevant information, data on bank expenses, interest rates and other offers, on the websites of the foreign ministry and Switzerland’s diplomatic representations abroad for the Swiss overseas communities. The other parliamentary motion demanded that PostFinance, the banking arm of the state-run Post Office, should be obliged to provide equal services to all Swiss citizens, regardless of where they live.
Both motions were approved in the first instance but were defeated in the House of Representatives in June 2018. Despite yet another disappointing setback, it is encouraging that more and more federal parliamentarians seem to be willing to listen – maybe also with a view to the upcoming federal elections in 2019.
The problem remains unresolved and our struggle will continue. If you are a Swiss citizen in our region of Oceania and you are affected by the banking problem, we CSA Oceania want to hear from you. Please share your experience with us, so that we can be a strong voice in Bern.
To establish a basic overview of the conditions applied by financial institutions in Switzerland for Swiss clients abroad, the OSA has conducted a survey in November 2016.
A lot has happened lately with regards to e-voting. There has been growing resistance and a fair bit of scare-mongering in Switzerland regarding the introduction of e-voting. Whilst the advantages are obvious to the government and the Swiss Abroad, sceptics argue that the trust in the democratic process is compromised due to e-security uncertainty and the cost of developing a secure system is also a concern. Earlier this year, a broad alliance of political parties has been collecting signatures for a popular initiative. Their aim is to ban the introduction of e-voting for at least five years.
The legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), met for its biannual meeting at the town hall in Bern on 23 March 2019. For the second time, the meeting followed on an exchange with Swiss parliamentarians for an update on political issues with relevance for the Swiss Abroad.
From 13 April to 29 September 2019, the Swiss Abroad will be featured in the Swiss History Forum in Schwyz as part of the exhibition ‘Switzerland elsewhere’.
Canton Geneva has announced it can no longer afford to bear the cost of an e-voting system and plans to abandon the project, according to Swiss public radio, RTS. This leaves only one other e-voting project still standing in Switzerland run by Swiss Post.
Read the full Swissinfo report here
The Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney and the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington inform that they plan to visit the following cities with the mobile passport station:
• Auckland (May)
• Northland (May – only if sufficient interest)
• Perth (first half of April)
• Melbourne (October)
Saturday, 15 September saw the ‘Young Swiss Citizen Celebration’ being held for the third time in Victoria. 15 young Swiss who recently celebrated their 18th birthday, and therefore have become fully-fletched Swiss citizens with all the rights and obligations that this entails, followed the invitation by the Hon. Consul, Manuela Erb, to a luncheon at the Swiss Club of Victoria. They were accompanied by their mums and dads, grandparents and brothers and sisters.
The Valais city of Visp hosted the 2018 Congress of the Swiss Abroad and assembly of the Council of the Swiss Abroad from August 10- 12. The social program included an excursion to the Ryffelberg-Gornergrat on the final day.
Members of the Council of the Swiss Abroad meeting in the town of Visp on Friday, 10 August approved plans to launch an online petition calling for the introduction of e-voting over the next three years. Oceania was represented at the meeting by Katja Wallimann Gates and Beat Knoblauch (pictured), Peter Ehrler and Peter Canziani.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 28 June 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) welcomes the Federal Council’s decision to commission the Federal Chancellery with the preparation of a project that makes e-voting a regular voting option. This decision represents a significant step forward in the introduction of e-voting and recognises it as a safe and reliable option. For Swiss Abroad, this e-voting is often the only way to exercise their political rights.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 13 June 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) representing the interests of 751,800 compatriots living abroad, is disappointed that the Council of States today rejected Motion 17.3626 by 30 votes to 9 with 4 abstentions. The Council of States has decided not to follow the majority of its Foreign Policy Commission (APK-S) and has rejected a motion calling on PostFinance to accept Swiss Abroad on similar terms as citizens residing in Switzerland. The problem that has existed for our compatriots living abroad for ten years remains unresolved.