The Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, has complained of a setback in the country's economic liberalisation process and has warned of far-reaching consequences as a result.This content was published on June 29, 2001 - 15:50
He was speaking on Friday at the annual assembly in Lausanne of Swissmem, the umbrella organisation of the Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering industries.
Couchepin said that in view of the importance of competition for economic growth, it was food for thought to observe the reform impetus in Switzerland on the wane.
"Unfortunately we are observing an increasing 'backlash' in the liberalisation process," he said.
He gave as an example the continuing international protests against the World Trade Organisation. He also referred to the broad opposition across party lines to revision of the Swiss cartel law, opposition to the opening of the electricity market, protests about the future of the Swisscom telecommunications company and The Post, as well as the raised voices against agricultural reform.
"It would be short-sighted if at the beginning of the 21st century we should fall into the trap of the 1970s in harbouring the illusion that further economic growth has little importance for the well-being of our society," he said.
swissinfo with agencies
In compliance with the JTI standards