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Parliament grants guarantee for national Expo

Aerial photograph of platform built on Lake Neuchâtel for Expo.02

(Keystone)

The Swiss House of Representatives has followed the Senate in approving a SFr338 million deficit guarantee for Switzerland's national exhibition in two years’ time, Expo.02.

The Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, cited Shakespeare when he said there was no intermediate solution between going forward or abandoning the project.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more," he said.

Most members of the House followed his advice by accepting the deficit guarantee by 115 votes to 34. However, a majority of the conservative Swiss People's Party and the Greens opposed the move.

The exhibition was put back a year after financial support, particularly from the private sector, was slow to materialise. The exhibition has also gone through a number of management changes.

With the deficit guarantee, the Confederation is ready to put a total of SFr718 million at the disposal of the exhibition.

swissinfo with agencies


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