The finance ministry says the cabinet has reached agreement on how to use the money from the sale of 1,300 tonnes of gold reserves. The cabinet confirmed that it wanted to use the interest from the sale of 500 tonnes to finance a planned charity fund.
After an extraordinary session on Wednesday, it proposed using the remaining 800 tonnes on deficit reduction, educational projects, and to stock up the state pension plan. However, the details have been left open.
The cabinet agreed at the meeting that the fund should be limited to 30 years. The finance ministry said it would present a draft bill defining the charity, known as the Solidarity Foundation, to the government next week.
The fund would help combat the spread of poverty and violence at home and abroad. Parliament is expected to debate the bill later this year, before it goes to a nation-wide referendum in the middle of 2001.
The government launched the idea of the charity in 1997, at the height of the debate over Switzerland’s role during the Second World War.
The government has not yet decided on how the other 800 tonnes should be divided up, or when the money should be distributed. The government has called on the finance ministry to put forward a draft proposal by the end of the month.
The National Bank will sell a first tranche of 120 tonnes of gold by September of this year, in a move co-ordinated with other European central banks.
swissinfo with agencies