Ueli Maurer, Switzerland’s finance minister, is concerned about Switzerland’s finances after a recent round of decisions to substantially increase public spending.
During June 2022, Switzerland’s parliament agreed to significant increases to spending on the army, healthcare and the environment. The situation is not sustainable Maurer told SRF.
In June, parliament agreed to boost military spending by CHF 2 billion, raising it from CHF 5 to CHF 7 billion between now and 2030. In addition, significant sums of money have been approved to boost healthcare in the face of rising health insurance premiums, and CHF 200 million has been earmarked for incentives to update building heating systems to cut emissions.
We must respect the debt brake, a mechanism implemented to avoid chronic public deficits, said the minister.
We have just managed to close a budget for 2023, which respects the debt brake. However, beyond 2023 the situation does not look good, he said. We have significant deficits that we still need to absorb.
The minister proposes budget cuts. Savings are currently being looked for in areas of spending not regulated by law, which include education, aid and development, agriculture and the army. But even in these areas there is a limit to what can be done, he said. The simplest approach would be to make cuts across the board.
Maurer thinks there needs to be a shift in mentality. When I look around I get the sense people think there’s plenty of money. That all we need to do is click our fingers and our plates will be full. But this era is over. We are going to have to tighten our belts, he said speaking to SFR.