Central bank powers remain untouched

Parliament has dismissed proposals by the rightwing People’s Party to curb the independence of the Swiss National Bank (SNB).

This content was published on March 14, 2012

The House of Representatives threw out bids to restrict the bank’s foreign currency deals and to set a minimum equity capital quota and keep current gold reserves unchanged.

Wednesday’s special debate was called in the wake of the resignation of the president of the central bank, Philipp Hildebrand, in January over controversial private currency transactions.

People’s Party parliamentarians lashed out against an allegedly toothless reform of internal central bank regulations on private financial transactions while other parties accused the rightwing of undermining the central bank.

Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf again defended Hildebrand’s currency policy of setting a minimum SFr1.20 ceiling against the euro last September.

She added that Hildebrand was a strong personality and had fortunately not been easily influenced by political parties.

“The SNB was and is able to act. Fortunately for our country, we have a strong institution,” she said.

Further discussions are scheduled in parliament on Thursday. On the same day, the central bank is due make a currency policy announcement.

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