Swiss voters have approved two landmark proposals in a referendum on Sunday, supporting a new climate law to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and a global minimum tax rate for multinational corporations.
The climate law, which aims to cut fossil fuel use and boost renewable energy sources, received 59.1% of the votes, according to near-final results. The law was backed by the government and most political parties, except the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which argued it would raise energy prices and hurt the economy.
The law will provide financial incentives for switching to greener heating systems, electric vehicles and solar panels, as well as imposing a levy on airline tickets. The government says the law is necessary to protect Switzerland’s energy security and environment, as the country faces the effects of global warming on its rapidly melting glaciers.
The global minimum tax rate proposal, which would amend the constitution to allow Switzerland to join an international agreement to set a 15% tax rate for big companies, was even more popular, with 78.5% of the votes in favor. The proposal was supported by the government and all major parties, as well as business groups and trade unions.
The finance ministry said the proposal would ensure Switzerland’s competitiveness and attractiveness as a business location, while also preventing tax avoidance and ensuring a fair distribution of the tax burden. Switzerland has some of the world’s lowest corporate tax rates, which vary across its 26 cantons.
The referendum results show that Swiss voters are willing to embrace progressive reforms on both environmental and economic issues, despite some resistance from conservative forces. The turnout was around 42%, slightly higher than average for Swiss referendums.