A survey of worries facing people in Switzerland shows that unemployment, immigration and pensions are their main concerns, while they feel most confident about their country’s government and supreme court.
According to the 2015 Worry Barometer survey from Credit Suisse, people in Switzerland also feel that neutrality is their country’s main identifying feature and express more national pride than in previous years.
However, in general, this year’s results have remained fairly consistent with earlier editions of the survey. Unemployment has been a key concern for more than a decade, and relationships with foreigners and refugees has been at the forefront of respondents’ minds since 2012.
The issue of Switzerland’s relationship to the European Union emerged as a top political concern, with keeping bilateral agreements with the EU a priority for 47% of voters and the second-highest priority for another 13%. This represents a decline over previous years, even though the proportion of those wanting to get rid of the bilateral agreements also went down. Some 18% of voters surveyed now see abolishing those agreements as a top priority, while 6% rated it their second-highest priority.
“Clarification of Switzerland’s relationship with the European Union, the country’s most important economic partner, will be the most pressing task in the coming legislative period,” said René Buholzer, Head of Public Policy and Sustainability at Credit Suisse.
Survey respondents seem to have a high degree of trust in their decision-makers to take on that task, with the seven-member Swiss cabinet named the country’s second most trusted institution – edging out the police. The top spot went to the supreme court. Overall, acceptance of political decision-makers has steadily increased in recent years.
With concerns about unemployment, the economy emerged as a main worry for survey respondents. Some 13% of them fear that their personal financial circumstances will worsen in the coming year, the highest percentage since 2002. However, 63% of Swiss people describe their personal economic situation as good or very good, while 86% think it will stay the same or improve over the coming year.
And, although 93% of respondents believe the Swiss economy is in a good position compared to other countries, 28% believe it has deteriorated since last year. Overall, 52% of those surveyed think the general economic situation will stay the same despite the impact of the strong Swiss franc.
The Worry and Identity Barometer survey has been conducted by Credit Suisse for the past 39 years. For this year’s edition, 1,009 voters throughout Switzerland were asked about their concerns on behalf of Credit Suisse by the research institute gfs.bern. Respondents could select their five most important concerns from a list of 37.
swissinfo.ch and agencies