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Switzerland

Yearbook 1998

Switzerland. According to Countryaah, Switzerland avoided a devastating boycott from the United States when, during the summer, after often bitter negotiations, Swiss banks reached an agreement with Jewish organizations to compensate for seized Jewish assets during World War II. The settlement meant that the Swiss banks would pay the equivalent of SEK 10 billion to survivors of the Holocaust and Jewish groups.

At the same time, the banks agreed to pay just over SEK 8 million to Christoph Meili, the night watchman who in 1997 rescued documents that would be destroyed and handed them over to Jewish leaders in Switzerland. Meili was charged with breach of confidentiality, but the case was closed. After he and his family were threatened with death, the family moved to the United States.

In a referendum in the autumn, the Swiss said a definite no to a proposal for a total legalization of drugs. The proposal came from parents of abusers, independent doctors and lawyers. Switzerland has the largest proportion of drug users per inhabitant in Europe, and the supply of drugs is large. Typical for Swiss addicts is that they come from all walks of life.

Interior Minister Ruth Dreifuss became president in December. This item rotates according to the constitution of the government.

Swiss airline Swissair suffered its worst accident so far when a plane from New York to Geneva crashed into the sea off Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 229 people.

1998 Switzerland

After a period of economic growth, the Swiss economy suffered a setback during 2001, thousands were laid off and unemployment reached 2%. In October, the country's national airline, Swissair, declared bankruptcy after an expansion plan failed. The government, several banks and private companies devised a costly plan to ensure that the country continued to have a national airline. It was formed on the remains of a Swissair regional company, Crossair. However, only 7% of the population believed in January 2002 that the new company could survive. That same month, Kaspar Villiger from the Free Democratic Party of thought took over the presidential post.

In 2002, the World Economic Summit did not want to repeat the protests of the previous year, and the summit of the year was therefore held for the first time since 1971 in New York. Officially to show solidarity with the city that had been hit by terror in September 2001.

In March 2002, 55% of voters voted in a referendum to allow Switzerland to join the UN. The country thus became member No. 190. Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss declared that it was a victory for Switzerland, as the country now had an international forum where it could debate global issues and thus better defend its interests. Opponents of admission, however, felt that the country was now losing its neutrality.

That same month, Bergier reported to the Commission. It was established in 1996 with members from Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel for the purpose of examining Switzerland's relations with the Axis Powers during World War II. The report stated that Switzerland had conducted secret negotiations and trade agreements with Nazi Germany which had helped prolong the war; that Switzerland had refused to grant asylum to thousands of Jews, despite the fact that the government knew of the existence of concentration camps; and finally, that trade agreements and financial cooperation agreements had existed between the two countries that had contributed to the German economy's expansion.

 

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