Switzerland joins UN Security Council

The U.K.’s Prince Andrew sells his Swiss chalet, Bern is criticized for refugee housing, and more in our roundup of Swiss news from June 7 – 10.



The United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.


Is UN Security Council membership a step away from neutrality?


The Swiss Confederation this week was elected to the United Nations Security Council with 187 parliamentary votes out of 192 in favor of the move. “Switzerland is absolutely right to join the Security Council,” said the head of Switzerland’s Green Party Nicolas Walder. “Being neutral does not mean that one should not assume one’s responsibilities and not take a position. To be neutral means not to participate in an armed conflict,” he added. The five votes against the move all came from the Swiss People’s Party. They say the move is another step away from the country’s historical neutrality and all the security that it has provided. Pascale Baeriswyl from Basel is slated to represent the country on the UN council. Read more.


Will Switzerland ever join NATO?


Prince Andrew’s Chalet Helora was listed on the Swiss luxury market for more than 20 million CHF.


Prince Andrew settles assault case with Swiss chalet sale


Prince Andrew’s 20 million CHF Swiss chalet has been sold to settle his civil sexual assault case with Virginia Giuffre, who allegedly was trafficked to the Prince at age 17 by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Although Queen Elizabeth’s second born has denied any wrongdoing, he agreed in February to pay for the settlement, which is reportedly around 14 million CHF. The Verbier-area Chalet Helora features seven bedrooms, an indoor pool and sauna. Prince Andrew, his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and their daughters frequented the chalet annually and were known to locals. This week moving vans were parked at the property, signaling the end of a royal era in Verbier. Read more.


Ukrainian refugee housing in Bern ‘unlivable’


Housing experts this week raised concerns over the refugee village being built on the outskirts of Bern to handle the onslaught of refugees arriving from war-torn Ukraine. The village is meant to house 1,000 refugees, but experts say the proposed shipping container buildings are too narrow and too poorly constructed for people to live in. They do not meet the minimum humanitarian standards. A family of four will have to live in one room, measuring 15 meters squared. Moreover, a single kitchen is being built for every 50 people. “We use such housing architecture in our training courses as an example of how not to do it,” housing expert Ueli Salzmann told local newspaper Berner Zeitung. He added that Bern’s plans are “fundamentally wrong.” Read more.


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