Questions with ... Ueli Maurer.

AuteurKuhn, Remo
Fonction 10 questions with ...

On 1 January 2013, 62-year-old Ueli Maurer assumed office as the new President (Federal Councillor) of the Swiss Confederation, succeeding Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf from the Conservative Democratic Party (CDP). A resident of Adelboden and Hinwil, the father of six is a leading figure of the Swiss People's Party(SVP) and has been a member of the Federal Council since 2008, when he became the Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports. Prior to his election to the Federal Council, Maurer was Director of the Zurich Farmer's Association and President of the Swiss Vegetable Farmers' and Machinery Associations. We speak to Maurer following his election to learn about his hopes and visions for 2013.

  1. What does it mean to you to be the new Federal President of the Swiss Confederation?

    Traditionally, this office is both a challenge and an honour. I am much more fascinated by the challenges, i.e. the work [that needs to be done] and the political aspects, than the so-called honour, which is often simply a matter of formalities. This office allows me to serve my country. We must strengthen what we share, as we have much more that unites us than divides us. Despite all our differing interests, we are still one country. As Federal Councillor, I will have the opportunity to point out all the things that unite us at various events this year.

  2. What is your top priority as the Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports?

    My top priority as the Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS)--or Defence Minister, as it is called in other countries--is to ensure that the armed forces receive the means (above all, the financial means) necessary to carry out their tasks. And not just for this year, but for the future. For more than a decade, the Swiss armed forces have been hit by serious budget cuts. Savings have been realised by unsustainable cuts. This must not continue. We must provide the armed forces with a budget that is sufficient for both operations and investment. Having said that, I will also do everything possible to achieve real savings within the armed forces.

  3. Do you think that the budget for the Swiss army is sufficient as it is now or should it be increased?

    On 25 April 2012, the Federal Council set the budget for the Swiss armed forces at CHF 4.7 billion from 2015 onwards. This followed a decision by the Parliament to accept a cost ceiling of more than...

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