Switzerland is located in central Europe, between France and Austria. Its total area is
41,290 square kilometres.
7,040,119 (July, 1994 estimate)
German, French, Italian, Romansch
Switzerland's government is a federal republic.
Switzerland has a civil law system influenced by customary law. There is judicial
review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory
character. It accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.
Switzerland has excellent domestic, international and broadcast services, with
extensive cable and microwave networks. It has a communications satellite
earth station operating in the INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)
Switzerland's economy, one of the most prosperous and stable in the world, is
nonetheless undergoing a painful adjustment after both the inflationary boom of the late
1980s and the electorate's rejection of membership in the European Economic Area in
1992. The Swiss finally emerged from a three-year recession in mid-1993 and posted a
-0.6% GDP growth for the year. After a three-year struggle with inflation, the Swiss
central bank's tight monetary policies have begun to pay off. Inflation slowed to
3.3% in 1993 from about 4% in 1992. Unemployment, however, will continue to be a
problem over the near term. Swiss unemployment reached 5.1% in 1993 and will likely
begin declining in 1995. The voters' rejection of a referendum on membership in the
EEA, which was supported by most political, business and financial leaders, has raised
doubts that the country can maintain its preeminent prosperity and leadership in
commercial banking in the twenty-first century. Despite these problems, Swiss per
capita output, general living standards, education and science, health care and diet
remain unsurpassed in Europe. The country has few natural resources except for the
scenic natural beauty that has made it a world leader in tourism. Management-labor
relations remain generally harmonious.
Switzerland's main industries are machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles and precision
1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (SwF) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi
Swiss francs, franken, or franchi (SwF) per US$1 - 1.715 (January, 1994)
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