Switzerland. According to
countryaah, two thirds of Swiss people said in a
referendum in March, no to extended holidays. According to
the proposal, the holiday would be extended from four to six
weeks. In another referendum, voters said no to an extended
ban on smoking in public places.
Official figures in September showed that the country's
growth fell below zero and was now negative. The reason was
falling exports due to the continued very strong Swiss
franc. The central bank had also warned that the large
inflow of capital would cause instability in the country.
The Bank's decision the year before to set a ceiling for the
franc in relation to the euro had not been enough to dampen
the negative impact of the euro crisis on Switzerland.
However, the same month, the World Economic Forum (WEF)
named Switzerland the world's most competitive economy, for
the fourth year in a row. Unemployment was still below 3%.
In November, an environmental group collected enough
signatures to create a referendum on immigration. The Ecopop
group stated that the aim was to keep the population down to
reduce the impact on the environment. Ecopop also advocated
that aid money be used for family planning abroad.
A protracted dispute with Germany about the taxation of
hidden assets in Switzerland seemed to loosen when the
countries signed an agreement on the taxation of German
assets in Swiss banks. The agreement would allow Germans
with undeclared assets to make a one-time payment of between
21 and 41% of the value. But in November, the German Federal
Council voted down the agreement.
Bank giant UBS was sentenced in December by the British
Financial Supervisory Authority to pay the equivalent of SEK
10 billion in fines for having manipulated the policy rate
Libor in London for several years.