On the issue of taxation, the President of the Swiss Confederation Mrs Calmy-Rey declared, “with the withholding tax model, a constructive solution has been found that protects the interests of both sides.” As before, the objective is to finalise negotiations with Germany on the withholding tax before the summer holidays.
Mrs Calmy-Rey went on to say that other bilateral issues (e.g. expansion of Rhine Valley railway route as a northern feeder line to the north-south AlpTransit route or the problem of aircraft noise near the Zurich airport) would require constructive, technical and solution-oriented approaches. She emphasised the fact that the AlpTransit route is expected to significantly increase transport capacities, which will have a positive inter-regional and European impact. All the more reason why the expansion work on the Rhine Valley railway route needed to be completed on schedule.
As far as aircraft noise near the Zurich airport was concerned, Mrs Calmy-Rey stated that both sides would need to be open to compromise. Based on an analysis of noise pollution levels, a fair solution had to be found to limit exposure to aircraft noise.
Democratic movements in the Mediterranean region and Gulf States were also discussed. Switzerland once again strongly condemned the violence perpetrated against the population and reiterated calls for respect for human rights, particularly freedom of association and freedom of speech.
Mrs Calmy-Rey stated that the Federal Council lends support to the transition process in North Africa with the aim of developing democratic structures based on the rule of law and fostering effective market-based economies. Priorities for Swiss aid include economic cooperation, creation of jobs and the training of young people, return of stolen assets, strengthening the rule of law and support for migration projects such as the protection of refugees and migrants on the ground.
FDFA media spokesperson
Tel: +41 79 301 62 84
Address for enquiries:
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47