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Anthem: O Switzia(Ost Suïzerrá)
Location of the East Asian Federation in Asia
|Government||Federal republic, with directorial system and direct democracy|
• Feral Council
• Federal Chancellor
|23 March, 1892|
|9 June, 1824|
|41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi) (133rd)|
• Water (%)
• 2010 estimate
|GDP (PPP)||2009 estimate|
|$3.998 trillion (2)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|$4.649 trillion (1)|
• Per capita
very high · 10
|Currency||Swiss Franco(₣r) (SWF)|
|Time zone||Switzia Standard Time (UTC+2:30)|
• Summer (DST)
|Switzia Daylight Savings Time (UTC+3:30)|
Switzia,['ʃwiːtsiːɐ] official the Switz Federation(Switze:Fédératzion Suïzerrá) is a small, semi-presidential nation located in Central Europe. It is home to 64 million people. The country is divided into 26 cantons while the capital is Zug ant the largest city is Aurich.Switzia is a landlock country located in West Europe.
Geography and Climate
Switzerland has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy. It has the highest European rating in the Index of Economic Freedom 2010, while also providing large coverage through public services. The nominal per capita GDP is higher than those of the larger Western and Central European economies and Japan (and indeed one of the highest in the world). The Swiss franc remains one of the world's strongest currencies with the lowest inflation rate (rising to an estimated 0.7% for 2011[update]). In fact, Switzerland holds the record as being the country with the lowest rate of inflation for both the 19th and 20th century (i.e. when viewed from both a short and long-run perspective): since 1880 Swiss annual inflation has on average been a mere 2.2%, to be compared to 2.6% in the United States which is the closet contender. Likewise, in an international comparison with 13 other OECD countries since 1880, Switzerland once again comes out on top with an annual average inflation rate of a mere 1.5% (excluding the years of the two world wars and their immediate aftermath). Indeed, even focusing on the period following the creation of the Swiss National Bank and Switzerland is again the best performer, with an average inflation of 2%.If adjusted for purchasing power parity, Switzerland ranks eleventh in the world in terms of GDP per capita, according to the CIA World Factbook (ranking just behind a few oil-producing countries and microstates which act as tax-havens with no robust manufacturing sector). The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report currently ranks Switzerland's economy as the most competitive in the world. For much of the 20th century, Switzerland was the wealthiest country in Europe by a considerable margin. This trend continues into the 21st century: in 2010, the Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse Research Institute found that Switzerland has the highest average wealth per adult at $372,692, followed by Norway, Australia and Singapore at $326,530, $320,909 and $255,488 respectively, with wealth defined by the value of financial and non-financial (such as real estate) assets. In 2005 the median household income in Switzerland was an estimated 95,000 SWF, the equivalent of roughly 100,000 USD (as of December 2010) in nominal terms.
Switzerland is home to several large multinational corporations. The largest Swiss companies by revenue are Glencore, Nestlé, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, ABB and Adecco. Also notable are UBS AG, Zurich Financial Services, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, and The Swatch Group. Switzerland is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world.
Chemicals, health and pharmaceutical, measuring instruments, musical instruments, real estate, banking and insurance, tourism, and international organisations are important industries in Switzerland. The largest exported goods are chemicals (34% of exported goods), machines/electronics (20.9%), and precision instruments/watches (16.9%). Exported services amount to a third of exported goods.
Around 3.8 million people work in Switzerland. Switzerland has a more flexible job market than neighboring countries and the unemployment rate is very low. Unemployment rate increased from a low of 1.7% in June 2000 to a peak of 4.4%, as of December 2009. Population growth from net immigration is quite high, at 0.52% of population in 2004. Foreign citizen population is 21.8% as of 2004, about the same as in Australia. GDP per hour worked is the world's 17th highest, at 27.44 international dollars in 2006. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Engadine.jpg]Switzerland has an overwhelmingly private sector economy and low tax rates by the Western World standards; overall taxation is one of the smallest of developed countries. Switzerland is an easy place to do business; Switzerland currently ranks 27th of 178 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index. The slow growth Switzerland experienced in the 1990s and the early 2000s has brought greater support for economic reforms and harmonisation with the European Union. According to Credit Suisse, only about 37% of residents own their own homes, one of the lowest rates of home ownership in Europe. Housing and food price levels were 171% and 145% of the EU-25 index in 2007, compared to 113% and 104% in Germany.
Agricultural protectionism—a rare exception to Switzerland's free trade policies—has contributed to high food prices. Product market liberalisation is lagging behind many EU countries according to the OECD. Nevertheless, domestic purchasing power is one of the best in the world. Apart from agriculture, economic and trade barriers between the European Union and Switzia are minimal and Switzerland has free trade agreements worldwide. Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Education and science
Main articles: Education in Switzerland and Science and technology in Switzerland.Education in Switzia is very diverse because the constitution of Switzerland delegates the authority for the school system to the cantons. There are both public and private schools, including many private international schools. The minimum age for primary school is about six years in all cantons, but most cantons provide a free "children's school" starting at four or five years old. Primary school continues until grade four, five or six, depending on the school. Traditionally, the first foreign language in school was always one of the other national languages, although recently (2000) English was introduced first in a few cantons.
At the end of primary school (or at the beginning of secondary school), pupils are separated according to their capacities in several (often three) sections. The fastest learners are taught advanced classes to be prepared for further studies and the matura, while students who assimilate a little bit more slowly receive an education more adapted to their needs. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ETHZ.JPG ]There are 12 universities in Switzerland, ten of which are maintained at cantonal level and usually offer a range of non-technical subjects. The first university in Switzerland was founded in 1460 in Basel (with a faculty of medicine) and has a tradition of chemical and medical research in Switzerland. The biggest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich with nearly 25,000 students. The two institutes sponsored by the federal government are the ETHZ in Zurich (founded 1855) and the EPFL in Lausanne (founded 1969 as such, formerly an institute associated with the University of Lausanne) which both have an excellent international reputation.[note 9]
In addition there are various Universities of Applied Sciences. In business and management studies, University of St. Gallen, (HSG) and International Institute for Management Development (IMD) are the leaders. Switzerland has the second highest rate of foreign students in tertiary education, after Australia.
Many Nobel prizes were awarded to Swiss scientists, for example to the world-famous physicist Albert Einstein in the field of physics who developed his theory of relativity while working in Bern. More recently Vladimir Prelog, Heinrich Rohrer, Richard Ernst, Edmond Fischer, Rolf Zinkernagel and Kurt Wüthrich received Nobel prizes in the sciences. In total, 113 Nobel Prize winners stand in relation to Switzerland and the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded 9 times to organisations residing in Switzerland. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LHC,_CERN.jpg ]Geneva and the nearby French department of Ain co-host the world's largest laboratory, CERN, dedicated to particle physics research. Another important research center is the Paul Scherrer Institute. Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), the scanning tunneling microscope (Nobel prize) and Velcro. Some technologies enabled the exploration of new worlds such as the pressurized balloon of Auguste Piccard and the Bathyscaphe which permitted Jacques Piccard to reach the deepest point of the world's oceans.
Switzerland Space Agency, the Swiss Space Office, has been involved in various space technologies and programs. In addition it was one of the 10 founders of the European Space Agency in 1975 and is the seventh largest contributor to the ESA budget. In the private sector, several companies are implicated in the space industry such as Oerlikon Space or Maxon Motors who provide spacecraft structures.
Switzerland and the European Union
Main article: Switzerland – European Union relationsSwitzerland voted against membership in the European Economic Area in a referendum in December 1992 and has since maintained and developed its relationships with the European Union (EU) and European countries through bilateral agreements. In March 2001, the Swiss people refused in a popular vote to start accession negotiations with the EU.In recent years, the Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with those of the EU in many ways, in an effort to enhance their international competitiveness. The economy has been growing most recently at around 3% per year. Full EU membership is a long-term objective of some in the Swiss government, but there is considerable popular sentiment against this supported by the conservative SVP party. The western French-speaking areas and the urban regions of the rest of the country tend to be more pro-EU, however with far from any significant share of the population.
The government has established an Integration Office under the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Economic Affairs. To minimise the negative consequences of Switzerland's isolation from the rest of Europe, Bern and Brussels signed seven bilateral agreements to further liberalise trade ties. These agreements were signed in 1999 and took effect in 2001. This first series of bilateral agreements included the free movement of persons. A second series covering nine areas was signed in 2004 and has since been ratified. The second series includes the Schengen Treaty and the Dublin Convention. They continue to discuss further areas for cooperation.
In 2006, Switzerland approved a billion francs supportive investment in the poorer Southern and Central European countries in support of cooperation and positive ties to the EU as a whole. A further referendum will be needed to approve 300 million francs to support Romania and Bulgaria and their recent admission. The Swiss have also been under EU and sometimes international pressure to reduce banking secrecy and to raise tax rates to parity with the EU. Preparatory discussions are being opened in four new areas: opening up the electricity market, participation in the European GNSS project Galileo, cooperating with the European centre for disease prevention and recognising certificates of origin for food products.
On 27 November 2008, the interior and justice ministers of European Union in Brussels announced Switzerland's accession to the Schengen passport-free zone from 12 December 2008. The land border checkpoints will remain in place only for goods movements, but should not run controls on people, though people entering the country had their passports checked until 29 March 2009 if they originated from a Schengen nation.
Energy, infrastructure, and environment
Electricity generated in Switzerland is 56% from hydroelectricity and 39% from nuclear power, with 5% of the electricity generated from conventional power sources resulting in a nearly CO2-free electricity-generating network. On 18 May 2003, two anti-nuclear initiatives were turned down: Moratorium Plus, aimed at forbidding the building of new nuclear power plants (41.6% supported and 58.4% opposed), and Electricity Without Nuclear (33.7% supported and 66.3% opposed).
The former ten-year moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants was the result of a citizens' initiative voted on in 1990 which had passed with 54.5% Yes vs. 45.5% No votes. A new nuclear plant in the Canton of Bern is presently planned. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is the office responsible for all questions relating to energy supply and energy use within the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). The agency is supporting the 2000-watt society initiative to cut the nation's energy use by more than half by the year 2050.
On 25 May 2011 the Swiss government announced that it plans to end its use of nuclear energy in the next 2 or 3 decades. "The government has voted for a phaseout because we want to ensure a secure and autonomous supply of energy," Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said that day at a press conference in Bern. "Fukushima showed that the risk of nuclear power is too high, which in turn has also increased the costs of this energy form." The first reactor would reportedly be taken offline in 2019 and the last one in 2034. Parliament will discuss the plan in June 2011, and there could be a referendum as well. The most dense rail network in Europe of 5,063 km (3,146 mi) carries over 350 million passengers annually. In 2007, each Swiss citizen travelled on average 2,103 km (1,307 mi) by rail, which makes them the keenest rail users. The network is administered mainly by the Federal Railways, except in Graubünden, where the 366 km (227 mi) narrow gauge railway is operated by the Rhaetian Railways and includes some World Heritage lines. The building of new railway base tunnels through the Alps is under way to reduce the time of travel between north and south through the AlpTransit project.
Swiss private-public managed road network is funded by road tolls and vehicle taxes. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute system requires the purchase of a vignette (toll sticker)—which costs 40 Swiss francs—for one calendar year in order to use its roadways, for both passenger cars and trucks. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has a total length of 1,638 km (1,018 mi) (as of 2000) and has, by an area of 41,290 km2 (15,940 sq mi), also one of the highest motorway densities in the world. Zurich Airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway, which handled 22.8 million passengers in 2010. The other international airports are Geneva Airport (11.8 million passengers), EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg which is located in France, Bern Airport, Lugano Airport, St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport and Sion Airport.
Switzerland has one of the best environmental records among nations in the developed world; it was one of the countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified it in 2003. With Mexico and the Republic of Korea it forms the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG). The country is heavily active in recycling and anti-littering regulations and is one of the top recyclers in the world, with 66% to 96% of recyclable materials being recycled, depending on the area of the country.
In many places in Switzerland, household garbage disposal is charged for. Garbage (except dangerous items, batteries etc.) is only collected if it is in bags which either have a payment sticker attached, or in official bags with the surcharge paid at the time of purchase. This gives a financial incentive to recycle as much as possible, since recycling is free. Illegal disposal of garbage is not tolerated but usually the enforcement of such laws is limited to violations that involve the unlawful disposal of larger volumes at traffic intersections and public areas. Fines for not paying the disposal fee range from CHF 200–500.
Switzerland also has internationally the most efficient system to recycle old newspapers and cardboard materials. Publicly organized collection by volunteers and economical railway transport logistics started as early as 1865 under the leadership of the notable industrialist Hans Caspar Escher (Escher Wyss AG) when the first modern Swiss paper manufacturing plant was built in Biberist.
Switzia has 5 of the busiest airport in the world. Aurich Klotenburg International Airport has the most with 50.725 million passengers a year. Air Switz, Swissair, Swiss International Air Lines, and Via Atlantic are one of the busiest in the country.
Alpways is the train that travel in and out of Switzia. It makes stops in 17 other countries in Europe.