Politique monétaire - Le point de vue de la Suisse

Hans Meyer, Chairman of the Governing Board

Belgian Financial Forum, Brussels, November 23, 1998, 23.11.1998

The world economy is currently very much in a state of transition. Not only do adverse developments need to be corrected, but in particular lessons must be drawn that are essential for achieving balanced and sustained economic development. Three main points must be emphasised:

It is not a question of beginning at the very beginning again. What needs to be done is to bring the objectives of economic and social action increasingly in line with human and factual reality. Reason, prudence and restraint are the signposts pointing the way.

While fully appreciating the ambitions to establish a division of labour on an international scale, due attention must be paid to the primary need of creating the necessary preconditions in individual countries. Only the interpenetration of sound economies can bring the desired advantages. The characteristics of a healthy economic policy are always the same: in the foreground are a stability-oriented monetary policy, a solid fiscal policy and an effective competition policy. It is in the interests of all concerned if assistance is given to the weaker partners by the stronger partners. Such assistance can, however, only be successful if it takes the form of help towards self-help.

Finally, we should constantly bear in mind that creating the preconditions for a balanced and sustained economic development is lastly also a social challenge. That is so because those who lay down the framework for economic activity are the same persons who face this challenge - a challenge that can only be met if a sufficiently large number of citizens contribute to creating the conditions for co-existence.