The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Historic Yes in Bern and Delsberg JU to the Moutier Concordat

On September 22, the Bernese and Jura voters will be able to decide on the transfer of the Bernese municipality of Moutier to the Jura. Both cantonal parliaments clearly approved the concordat on Wednesday.

In Delsberg JU, the decision was overwhelming with 57 votes in favor, 1 against and 2 abstentions. However, the vote of the Bernese Grand Council was also clear: it said yes by 112 votes to 19 with 26 abstentions.

Almost all of the votes against and abstentions in Bern City Hall came from the SVP. This was revealed by a look at the voting protocol, which was made available to the Keystone-SDA news agency.

The overwhelming majority in the Bernese cantonal parliament felt that the departure of Moutier was regrettable. The canton would lose diversity and francophony as a result. However, the vote of the voters of Moutier in 2021 should be respected.

The concordat, which regulates the modalities of the change, is a balanced package, the statement continued. It could finally draw a line under the centuries-long Jura conflict.

Opponents doubted that this was the case. The conflict will continue to smoulder and there is already a desire to move to neighboring communities in Moutier, they said. The canton of Bern had negotiated poorly.

Schnegg: No winners and losers

This accusation was rejected by Pierre Alain Schnegg (SVP), member of the Bernese cantonal government. Switzerland is a country of compromises and the result of the negotiations is a balanced package. There were no winners and no losers. "Each party had to make concessions."

Apart from that, you can't stop anyone from dreaming or pursuing certain political goals, said Schnegg. But one thing was clear: with the concordat, the Jura issue was settled at an institutional level. It could not be voted on again afterwards.

Worthy reception

In the Jura parliament, all political groups spoke of a "historic and solemn moment". The concordat negotiated by the two governments was comprehensive and balanced. It would enable Moutier to receive a worthy reception. It is also a great opportunity for the canton, said State Councillor Nathalie Barthoulot (SP).

However, the joy was not entirely unclouded. It was pointed out that the case of Moutier's neighboring municipality of Belprahon BE had not yet been settled. The village had rejected the switch to Jura by just seven votes.

The call by SVP parliamentarian Yves Gigon to reject the concordat went unheeded. "It is a financial catastrophe in the making," warned Gigon. A canton that is in intensive care is taking a municipality out of the palliative care unit.

From 2026

The electorate of Moutier voted in favor of the move to the canton of Jura on March 28, 2021. Never before has a Swiss municipality of this size moved to a new canton.

The change is to take place on January 1, 2026. In addition to the approval of both cantons, the Federal Assembly must also give its consent beforehand.


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