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Big spender Switzerland among the European countries that invest the most

Le chantier d'Alptransit

The construction sector, like here the Alptransit railway site in Ticino, draws a large part of investments in Switzerland and Europe.

(© KEYSTONE / GAETAN BALLY)

Switzerland is one of the few European countries where more investments are made today relative to ten years ago. This achievement comes in spite a strong Swiss franc, which was particularly detrimental to parts of the industrial sector. It shows the Swiss economy is rebounding after the global economic crisis that began in 2008. 

While the political situation in Italy has raised fears of further turbulence in financial markets, many European countries are still struggling to recover from the financial crisis that has weighed down their economies for the past decade. This is clear from various indicators, particularly the index on public and private sector investment recently published by Eurostatexternal link last month.

In 2017, the countries of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA, which also includes Switzerland) recorded public and private investments totaling about 3.2 billion euros (CHF3.7 billion, $3.5 billion). This is a considerable amount, but still below the level reached in 2007, before the onset of the great economic and financial crisis.

Taking only EU members into account, it appears, for example, that last year investments were 20.1% of gross domestic product (GDP), 2.3% less than in 2007. The euro zone even experienced a decline of 2.7% during this period. Among EU and EFTA members, only six countries managed in 2017 to exceed the share of investments reached ten years earlier.

External Content

Graph on investment in Europe

It should be noted that around 50% of public and private investment in these European countries goes to the construction sector, ranging from buildings to infrastructure. Just over 30% is used for industrial production especially machinery, equipment and armaments and nearly 20% to promote intellectual property.

As far as Switzerland is concerned, the volume of investment was already consistently above 24% of GDP during the period 1997-2007. In 2009, due to the economic crisis, it fell to its lowest level in 20 years (22.7%). Since then, it has grown steadily, reaching 24.5% last year. With this percentage, Switzerland ranks third among the countries investing the most in Europe in 2017.

External Content

Map showing public and private investment levels in Europe





(Traduction de l'italien: Olivier Pauchard)

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