A View from Switzerland

Hans Meyer, Chairman of the Governing Board

Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (New York Chapter), New York, 1 October 1999, 01.10.1999

The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, Hans Meyer, summarises Switzerland's economic situation and monetary policy. He then addresses the reform of the Swiss monetary constitution. Finally, he deals with Switzerland's role as a financial centre.

At the turn of the century, Switzerland is economically and socially in good condition. Following years of frequently painful adjustments to a changing environment, preconditions for a balanced development are favourable. The quality and scope of these adjustments bear witness to the flexibility of our economy and society. The years ahead will continue to be characterised by constant change. It is therefore important to remain vigilant. On the basis of overall economic as well as social stability, innovative power and flexibility must be preserved. In a mature society, this represents a particular challenge.

By keeping our own house in order, we also make the best possible contribution to international solidarity. In the narrower European context, our bilateral agreements with the European Union will form a good basis for cooperation in the coming years. In Europe and beyond, Switzerland traditionally has an extensive network of international relations which we shall continue to cultivate in the future. As far as these relations are of a political nature, an appropriate social consensus is necessary for doing so.

The further development of our financial centre will depend on whether we succeed in continuing to guarantee its integrity, stability and quality. This requires efforts both on an individual and on an overall economic level. A sustained commitment in both spheres will permit existing opportunities to be used.