This is a word that truly describes the country of Switzerland. Whether it’s tennis ace Roger Federer and his record 12 Wimbledon men’s final appearances, or the steady ticking of a Patek Philippe watch, not to mention the country’s centuries of neutrality. , there is something comfortingly constant about it.
That consistency continued in 2023, with Switzerland once again taking the number one spot in the ranking of the best countries for U.S. news. This is the sixth time that an Alpine country has taken the top spot in the project, this year’s study is based on a survey of more than 17,000 people and is based on a survey of 87 countries across 73 descriptive attributes. Collected recognition.
“We know what we’re getting, which is rare these days!” Alexander Edelman, head of Presence Switzerland, a government agency that promotes Switzerland abroad, said in an email. “Although Switzerland is a relatively small country geographically, it is very well known around the world and has strong international connections.”
“People love this country without always knowing why,” says Jacques Pitlou, Switzerland’s ambassador to the United States and a veteran diplomat. “What people like about us is our reliability and predictability.”
Pitteloud believes that a combination of factors led to Switzerland’s success, including economic stability, political consensus, and its historic role as a negotiator and peacemaker for other countries.
But he adds: “I think the secret sauce starts with quality education. Our country is one of the developed countries in many areas. We are always leading the way in terms of innovation.”
This is clear from the prominent role Switzerland plays in several important sectors of the world economy. Its gross domestic product in 2022 was $807 billion, placing it among the world’s leading economies. It also avoided much of the inflation that hit the United States and Europe. Switzerland’s inflation rate of 2.84% last year was about one-third that of the European Union and less than half that of the United States, according to World Bank data. .
“Despite a difficult few years due to the pandemic and the current geopolitical upheaval, the Swiss economy is performing exceptionally well and continues to grow,” said Edelman of Presence Switzerland. “Inflation rates also remain relatively low.”
Switzerland has chosen a high-value, premium approach to the global economy, avoiding the tendency of other major developed countries to compete with low-cost countries and favoring industries where innovation, research and a skilled workforce are the key drivers. are doing.
For example, Nestlé advertises itself as the world’s largest food and beverage company with approximately $100 billion in sales. We carry a wide range of products from Nespresso coffee to Purina dog food. In recent years, we have expanded significantly into the nutrition and health products business.
Switzerland is also a leader in pharmaceuticals. Two of his companies, Roche and Novartis, are among the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Both specialize in cutting-edge treatments for diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.
“I never thought I would fall in love with Switzerland,” Delphine Donnet, general manager and vice president of Logitech, a Swiss company that makes computer peripherals and other workplace technology products, said in an email. He spoke at “Everything is very clean, well organized, courteous and safe.”
Donnet, a French native who has lived and worked in the United States, China, Britain and Canada, agrees with Pitteloud that the country’s technology and innovation assets are probably undervalued outside of small countries.
“As a leader in the technology industry, I have come to understand even more that Switzerland is a great center of innovation,” she says. “It is home to prestigious universities such as ETH Zurich, ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) and EPFL in Lausanne. Logitech is headquartered on her EPFL campus and has the advantage of being at the forefront of innovation.”
Switzerland’s industry and education system are complemented by the country’s political stability. The country has a policy of neutrality dating back to her 16th century and has often played a role in mediating international disputes. Still, neutrality has not stopped the country from participating in international sanctions imposed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
And this policy is not always without controversy. Last month, the CEO of state defense contractor Luag resigned following comments suggesting other countries should transfer Swiss arms to Ukraine and earlier comments criticizing the government’s stance. It is reported that.
There are other challenges as well. Mr. Pitteloud points to the relationship with the EU. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, the organization that governs Europe’s economic and security relations. The two institutions cooperate through various agreements, but in 2021 Switzerland ended long-standing talks on a framework agreement related to issues such as transport and travel. In the aftermath, “exploratory discussions” were reportedly held.
Acknowledging the “elephant in the room”, Pitteloud said Switzerland and the EU have a “complex relationship”.
Perhaps the country’s most long-term concern is its geography and the rapidly changing nature of the global climate. Switzerland’s population is growing, reaching more than 7 million in the 1990s and now approaching 9 million. Switzerland is also a relatively small landlocked country, with many areas difficult to live in due to its topography, and faces population and resource challenges.
“We have plenty of water right now,” Pitteloud said, adding, “Where I come from deep in the mountains, the glaciers are shrinking to a really scary point.”
In June, Switzerland approved a comprehensive climate change law mandating a net-zero emissions policy by 2050. The initiative received wide support from the Swiss scientific community.
“This victory means that the goal of achieving net-zero emissions is finally entrenched in law,” said Georg Klingler, a climate and energy expert at Greenpeace Switzerland, according to the Associated Press. mentioned later. “This will give us more security as we plan for the future and put our country on the path to moving away from fossil fuels.”
Doné adds: “It’s fun to live in a country where people care about the environment. There’s a long way to go, but in a society where collaboration is valued and environmental concern is widespread, acceleration is only achievable. It is expected, not.”
U.S. News’ Julia Haynes contributed to this article.