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Country Reports

Switzerland Country Report

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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. However, the current administration should remain stable.The government's core policy challenge for the foreseeable future will be limiting the negative impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. It launched wide-reaching fiscal policy packages amounting to nearly 5% of GDP (plus 6% worth of guarantees) to limit the economic damage caused by the necessary administrative restrictions, including the March–April lockdown.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 reform proposals remains difficult. Any major movement on this is largely on hold until after Switzerland’s upcoming vote on a popular petition to limit the free movement of people on 27 September 2020.Switzerland’s GDP will contract by roughly 5% in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 virus pandemic and the lockdown measures taken by the authorities. Notwithstanding major fiscal support and the staggered "reopening" of the economy since May, the initial rebound will be only partial (growth in 2021: 4.5%) – a full recovery will only be possible once a vaccine has become widely available, around mid-2021.The assessment of the Swiss business cycle is regularly complicated by the quarterly statistical attribution of licence/television fees related to the Olympics and international football championships that take place every four years and are organised by associations located in Switzerland (IOC, FIFA/UEFA). This boosts quarterly growth in the first half of even-numbered (notably football World Cup) years and dampens growth in the second half of those years and early in the subsequent odd-numbered year – although the COVID-19 virus pandemic has shifted the 2020 Olympics and European Football Championship to 2021.
Last update: September 16, 2020

Operational Outlook

Switzerland's operational environment is likely to remain of a very high standard. There is a heightened risk of disruption due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and related containment measures. With good infrastructure links across Europe and tax incentives, 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. Moreover, measures to remove tariffs on imported industrial goods are being implemented. However, the ratification of a new framework agreement reforming EU-Swiss relations is likely to remain challenging.

Last update: July 10, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

The risk of jihadist terrorist attacks is lower in Switzerland than in many other European countries such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. This is partially owing to the country’s geopolitical neutrality. Nevertheless, 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. There is also a risk of far-right terrorism becoming more prevalent in Switzerland. The new anti-terrorism legislation approved by the parliament in June 2020 includes measures to increase police powers and international co-operation.

Last update: July 14, 2020

Crime

Switzerland's overall crime levels are likely to remain low. The Swiss Federal Statistics Office’s latest figures show a continuous decline in crime numbers over the past seven years. However, cyber crime, including online fraud, is becoming more common. Organised crime groups, often originating from Southeastern Europe, are likely to engage in illegal drug and arms trading, human trafficking, and migrant smuggling across borders. Switzerland has one of the most robust legal systems in the world to fight money laundering. The new anti-terrorism legislation approved by the parliament in June 2020 includes measures to increase police powers and international police co-operation.

Last update: July 14, 2020

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 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 within the framework of the OSCE, UN, and EU.

Last update: July 14, 2020

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. Following initial restrictions to curb the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the probability of protests has increased again. Environmental activism organised by groups such as Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion is likely to continue. Switzerland usually only experiences disruptive protests and riots on predictable dates, such as during the World Economic Forum 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 left-wing groups.

Last update: July 14, 2020

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