Back

Country Reports

Switzerland Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Switzerland's participatory democracy allows for many public interest groups to be represented in the political landscape through referenda. This increases the probability that the government will find it challenging at times to implement its policies, of which the most prominent are currently envisaged corporate tax reforms and newly defined future relations between Switzerland and the EU.The Eurosceptic right-wing SVP is likely to threaten government cohesion and is calling for a referendum in the second half of 2019 to cancel the agreement with the EU on free movement of people. Negotiations over replacing the current framework of more than 120 bilateral treaties between Switzerland and the EU with a more formalised agreement have been challenging, and parliamentary passage of recent proposals for reform is likely to be difficult.Switzerland enjoyed a period of particularly strong GDP growth at close to 3% during 2017 and the first half of 2018 before experiencing a contracting economy in the third quarter of last year. Apart from slowing global demand and rising oil prices, this partly reflected special factors that hurt the economy of its main trading partner Germany (including a decline in automotive output in response to new emission tests and low water levels on the Rhine caused by drought).Sharp recent growth swings also reflect changes in the quarterly statistical attribution of licence/television fees related to major international sports events that only take place every four years and which are organised by associations located in Switzerland (IOC for the Olympic Games, FIFA/UEFA for the football World Cup and European Championships). This factor tends to boost quarterly growth in the first half of even-numbered (notably World Cup) years and to dampen growth in the second half of those years. Unwinding effects of the aforementioned special factors will boost headline growth in the near term despite the underlying slowdown in trend momentum.
Last update: May 25, 2019

Operational Outlook

Switzerland's operational environment is likely to remain of a very high standard. Located in the centre of Europe with good infrastructure links across the continent, Switzerland is one of the most attractive destinations for foreign businesses in the region. To maintain access to the EU single market, the Swiss parliament rejected a law on curbing EU migration, reducing investor uncertainty. Sectors notably affected include pharmaceuticals, financial services, and fast-moving consumer goods industries. Moreover, measures to remove tariffs on imported industrial goods are being implemented by the government. The debate about replacing current bilateral Swiss-EU treaties with a more formalised treaty is ongoing.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Terrorism

Elevated

The risk of jihadist terrorist attacks is lower in Switzerland than in many other European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, a low-capability attack by a lone actor or small cell inspired by non-state armed groups such as the Islamic State has become more likely over recent years. An anti-radicalisation plan and a new set of anti-terrorism measures are likely to bring about increased police powers. Generally, the most likely targets would be public transport, crowded public spaces, security forces, or international organisations, which are mostly based in Geneva.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Crime

Switzerland's overall crime levels are likely to remain low. However, organised crime groups, often originating from southeastern Europe, are likely to engage in illegal drug and arms trading, human trafficking, and migrant smuggling. Switzerland has one of the toughest legal systems in the world to fight money laundering, making such criminal activity less likely in the coming years. Cross-border crime affecting Geneva and other areas close to France also poses a continuous challenge to the Swiss authorities.

Last update: May 25, 2019

War Risks

Interstate war risks are highly likely to remain negligible in Switzerland thanks to the country's friendly diplomatic and economic relations with most European countries and many other states around the world. Switzerland is an internally stable country overall that follows the principle of neutrality and faces no external aggression that could lead to war. As a result, the likelihood of a war on Swiss soil will remain very low. Switzerland's armed forces do not engage in conflicts in other countries, but they do participate in international peacekeeping missions.

Last update: May 25, 2019

Social Stability

Low

Switzerland is an internally stable country, and the likelihood of large-scale protests resulting in unrest and violence is likely to remain very low. The country usually only experiences disruptive protests and riots on predictable dates, such as during the World Economic Forum, which is held in Davos every January. There is also a risk of anti-Islam and anti-immigration protests, as well as minor demonstrations by far-right and also left-wing groups. Overall, larger rallies are most likely to take place in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lucerne, St. Gallen, and Bern.

Last update: May 25, 2019

Health Risk

Low

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Elevated

Mountain accidents are regularly reported and there is a risk of avalanches in mountainous areas year round. Between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017, seven people were killed in avalanche accidents. Most Western governments advise travelers to purchase search-and-rescue insurance.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low

Drivers are required to purchase and display a CHF 40 (EUR 25) vignette (sticker) before driving on the country's highways. The vignettes are available for purchase at most border crossing points, gas stations, Swiss Post offices, by phone (+800 1002 0030), and online.

Public transportation - trains, buses, and trams - are of the highest quality.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Switzerland is a mountainous country whose climate is semi-continental with oceanic and sometimes Mediterranean influences. Winters are very cold and summers hot. It rains regularly throughout the year. Temperatures tend to be lower at higher elevations while the north of the country, which has lower elevations, experiences higher temperatures and hotter summers.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +41
Police: 117
Fire Dept.: 118
Ambulance: 144

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019