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Bern makes economic crisis a priority

The Swiss government has presented its objectives for next year, saying that overcoming the global downturn and encouraging economic growth are high on the agenda.

The aims were set out by Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz before the Senate on Tuesday, during parliament's winter session.

Merz said the cabinet wanted to contain the country's unemployment rate, which currently runs at four per cent of the working population, its highest since 2005.

If the labour market situation deteriorates, the government may examine new measures to fight unemployment and the underutilisation of production capacities.

A government statement said another issue was to look at reform, including how tasks were shared between the different Swiss ministries.

It added that the government was also considering further measures to improve rail infrastructure in Switzerland in view of the increasing demand. and agencies