Interview with Eric Nussbaumer, President of the National Council in 2024

Eric Nussbaumer, President of the National Council

Eric Nussbaumer, President of the National Council

Mr. Nussbaumer, what do you think will keep Switzerland together in 2024 and what will divide it?

Our solidarity is rooted in federalism. Since each canton and each municipality has its own political authority, citizens identify closely with their local communities. Plus, we have a few elements that we aren’t willing to give up including multilingualism, peaceful religious freedom – a general acceptance of a pluralistic society.

Which challenges does Parliament face in 2024? What are your priorities as President of the National Council?

Parliament isn’t facing any specific political challenges in the coming year. Every year features political deals both tough and simple. In general, though, we have to successfully ensure that our search for solutions isn’t polarized or stoked up by the media. Parliament can only achieve validation through concrete problem-solving. 

Which of your party’s (SP) key issues do you want to promote during your term as President of the National Council?

As President of the National Council, you stand above the parties. It wouldn’t be good if I were only interested in promoting my own political concerns. Personally, however, I consider it important that we – as Switzerland – can clearly establish our place in Europe and that we take steps to promote a fair coexistence based on solidarity. That also means listening carefully when it comes to domestic and foreign policy. Switzerland doesn’t always know better.

You’re committed to ensuring a good relationship between Switzerland and the EU. What do you expect to happen in that regard? And will you be championing this issue during your year as president?

I hope that the Federal Council resumes negotiations with the EU next year. I consider it imperative that we work swiftly to find a sustainable solution for our relationship with the EU’s 27 member states. If I can do anything to facilitate that, I’d be happy to incorporate it into Parliament’s foreign policy activities in the coming year. 

Environmental and energy policy are important to you – also as co-founder and, until recently, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ADEV energy cooperative, which focuses on the sustainable energy supply as part of its corporate strategy. Switzerland has been trying to overcome energy scarcity for some time now. What do you think of the way Switzerland secures its energy supply?

Like in most European countries, our energy supply is dependent on fossil fuels. We have to overcome this for reasons related to climate policy and for geopolitical reasons. That’s why we need an energy turnaround with an enormous increase in renewable energies. It’s a monumental task, but pivotal to ensuring our prosperity. Plus, we’re already on the right track, but we need to step up the pace of our conversion efforts. 2050 and the net zero target are just around the corner – climate scientists have given us enough warnings.