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Local News Summary of March, 15th

  • Integration talks in Basel-Stadt to include EU-citizens
  • Staff cars only for eleven instead of 23 blue light cadre members
  • Reckless renewment: Next round in rental argument at Mülhauserstrasse

Integration talks in Basel-Stadt to include EU-citizens

Integration talks with immigrants led by the office for migration in Basel-Stadt are to be widened to include EU-citizens. So far, talks were only held with citizens of other countries.

However, only those EU-citizens with economic and language problems will be invited to join the integration talks, the government said on Tuesday. The government has singled out those who come to Basel for poorly paid jobs or for contracted employment, saying they could be at risk of becoming unemployed and dependent on benefits. The government also want to target those people in this group who are dependent on the financial support of a third person.

Integration talks had been set up in November 2015 and have their legal basis in the integration bill which had been passed in 2014 as a counter proposal against an initiative launched by the Swiss People’s Party. However, the migration office had only previously invited immigrants from countries outside of the EU to integration talks. 

That foreigners have to be invited for an integration talk is not part of the bill. The widening of the circle to include EU citizens comes as a result of initial experiences.


Staff cars only for eleven instead of 23 blue light cadre members

Only 11 out of the 23 cadre members of the police and ambulance organisations in Basel will receive a staff car which can be used for private use after the government passed a regulation on Tuesday.

The story that the cars were being used privately by cadre members of Basel’s blue light organisations hit the headlines last October when it emerged that the police had 18 vehicles and the medical services had five. The exemption clause, exercised for years by the department for justice and security, had then been contested in a parliamentary finance investigation. 

Following the reactions of the media, the government has now passed a new regulation by the concerned department to reduce the number of those who can use their vehicles to get to work and also the journeys to work when they are on standby. This ensures the availability of the cadre, the government said on Tuesday.

Only six members of the police cadre and five of the medical service are to be allowed to enjoy these privileges. Details are to be confirmed by the commanders. In other Swiss blue light organisations similar regulations have been successful, the department wrote.


No more kilometers for free

A new regulation means that the entire route to work is to be calculated. Every kilometer driven outside the standby service costs 25 Rappen plus VAT, whereas the difference to the full costs of 70 Rappen is going to be taxed as part of their wage.

Until now, journeys within an area of 15 kilometers of the police headquarters at Spiegelhof had been free while a per-day standby service had a limit of 20 kilometers. The staff cars will also be standardised, after personal special equipment had been previously faced criticism. All cars will contain a special signals, radio communication, protection equipment and service material.

The basis for the new staff car regulation by the department is an adjustment of the cantonal expense regulation which also has been passed by the government on Tuesday. A new passage allows deviant regulations by the departments, which however have to be allowed by the government.


Rightly kept to wrong rules

The new staff car regulation replaces a 2013 version which was put in place as a result of practices that had been exercised for the last 25 years. The regulation no longer corresponds with the new expense regulations. The blue light officers of Basel have always kept to the most up-to-date regulations.

The Basel staff car affair had earmarked the election campaign but had no legal consequences: An extraordinary prosecutor decided after initial investigations that he would not launch a penal investigation.


Reckless renewment: Next round in rental argument at Mülhauserstrasse

The tenants of the „Müli 26“ group in Basel have so far enjoyed strong solidarity in the area as they continue to fight to remain in their flats during a major renovation project.

The tenants association on Tuesday announced that, for the first time in a year, a concrete offer has been put on the table by the pension fund of Basel-Stadt.

The tenants of Mülhauserstrasse 26 had been given notice to leave their apartments on 17 March 2016 because of a major renovation project. Numerous government employees who live there are fighting to remaining in their apartments. The pension fund of Basel-Stadt however has always insisted that a “soft renovation” of the building was not possible and therefore the tenants have to move out.


For the first time, those at„Immobilien BS“ which is responsible for the project, have announced that a concrete offer by the responsible committee of the pension fund had been made. They offer that the tenants can remain in their flats after the renovation works have finished.


Also, concrete figures regarding a rental hike were also mentioned. According to the tenants association, those who lived there before the renovation will be treated as if they had never moved out.




Compromise discussed


The offer is similar to a case at Wittlingerstrasse, where the notice to leave was withdrawn after long and tough negotiations. With regards to Mülhauserstrasse, it remains unclear how the remaining tenants will react to this compromise. They can still take part in negotiations in May in which they can negotiate to remain in the house for a maximum of four more years. The building application, submitted at the end of 2016, is yet to be approved.