Swiss parliamentarians are allowed to charge 50 francs a day for roaming abroad

The European Union abolished roaming last summer for its citizens. Swiss mobile service providers may continue to demand hefty surcharges from their customers if they make calls and surf mobile abroad – so far the parliament has resisted a restriction. swiss roaming abroad

The national and councilors themselves are not affected by the high tariffs: they are subject to a comparatively generous regime during official stays abroad. For every day they spend with a commission or delegation outside Switzerland, they receive a roaming allowance of 50 francs – regardless of whether they really need this amount.

New figures from parliamentary services show that in the current legislature (2015 to 2019), National Councils and Councils have used this compensation almost 2700 times – that’s a good 134,000 francs. From 2016 to 2017, the number of applications grew by 17 percent. «The amount is paid in each case with the settlement of the journey. A receipt is not necessary », says the guide for council members.

200 francs for communicating swiss roaming abroad

How comfortable this roaming scheme is, is shown when looking at the remuneration for communication services. Every Member of Parliament is entitled to a flat rate of 200 francs per month for internet connections, mobile phone or landline subscriptions. More than 90 percent use this amount, as shown by the numbers of parliamentary services.

For Swiss Telecom expert Ralf Beyeler of the online comparison service, it is clear: “A roaming allowance of 50 francs per day is no longer up-to-date.” Data consumption abroad is now included in many subscriptions. With the comparatively expensive Swisscom one obtains already for 160 francs a good Internet connection and a medium portable radio subscription with unlimited Telefonie and data use in the domestic one. In Europe, this offer can be used for free for 60 days and download 3 gigabytes of data. For 40 francs more, there are even 12 gigabytes a year. “An additional roaming package is superfluous. That could be deleted without substitution. “The compensation is justified at best when traveling outside Europe. “50 francs are still at the upper limit.”

The lump sum was decided by the parliamentary delegation in 2014. Until then, parliamentarians had access to a special business subscription solution. “However, as the needs of Council members were too different, this solution has been replaced,” said a spokeswoman for the parliamentary services.

The foreign politician and FDP National Councilor Hans-Peter Portmann (ZH) has little sympathy for the criticism of the roaming remuneration. He paid on foreign travel financially rather than that he benefits from high flat-rate payments, says the foreign policy and gives as an example the cost of accommodation. At the World Bank meeting in Washington, the cost of a night at the hotel quickly amounted to 600 francs – with the overnight flat rate he could not pay even half, while parliamentarians from other countries simply bill the effective costs and then drive the limousine to the congress center would.

Roaming soon completely abolished?

So fast should not change the roaming packages of parliamentarians. The ordinary consumers are entitled to hope for this: In February, the national council’s telecommunications commission approved a parliamentary initiative by Basel provider CVP National Councilor Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter, which demands that mobile service providers only charge each other roaming costs on a cost basis and to final consumers with a rate set by the Federal Council maximum price margin may be charged.

With a complete abolition of Roaming probably also the 50-franc packages for parliamentarians should be difficult to justify.

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Via Aargauer Zeitung
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