Switzerland: protest against ECtHR climate ruling

The upper chamber of the Swiss parliament – the Council of States – has issued a statement criticising the recent climate ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It states that the judges went too far in ruling that Switzerland is not doing enough to combat climate change and that they exceeded their competences. The national press takes stock.

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Blick (CH) /

Put the court in its place

Blick says the judges overstepped their competences:

“In a democracy, freedom of opinion applies. Judges are not infallible. Criticising them is not blasphemy. It is therefore right for the Council of States to take a stand and call on the Federal Assembly to put the European Court of Human Rights in its place: it is not the court's job to define policies. Its job is to check whether the laws created by parliaments are being complied with. This is the idea behind the separation of powers. Switzerland is entitled to question the activism of the international court without immediately being suspected of seeking to abolish human rights for doing so. And: Switzerland should not allow itself to be distracted on its path towards better climate protection.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Lacking political wisdom

The Tages-Anzeiger criticises the signals sent by the parliamentarians with their statement:

“What remains is a declaration of protest: a Swiss parliamentary chamber has criticised a court and called on its government not to comply with its ruling – or, depending on how you read it, to ignore it. Just as autocrats are fond of doing. The fact that the critics of the ruling fail to see what a problematic message they are sending, how much damage they are doing to an institution that – as the declaration also states – they consider important: it makes you seriously doubt the Council of States. This time there was no lack of smart votes and clever arguments, but – what is worse – a lack of political wisdom.”