Switzerland mulls honorary citizenship for WEF founder Schwab

Maurer is keen to honour Schwab as WEF reaches its 50 year landmark. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Plans to award World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab honorary Swiss citizenship may run into opposition, reports SonntagsZeitung. The idea has been mooted by Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer to mark WEF’s 50th anniversary next year.

This content was published on August 18, 2019 - 11:39

According to the newspaper, Maurer has asked his Swiss cabinet colleagues to consider conferring the honour on the German citizen. This would be an unusual move as Switzerland has no tradition of awarding national titles or awards.

The idea is reportedly being supported by the canton of Graubünden, which has hosted WEF’s flagship event since its first incarnation as the European Management Forum in 1971 in the ski resort of Davos. Next January marks the 50th edition of the WEF meeting of global thought leaders.

One sticking point may be that Schwab has consistently turned down the thought of applying for Swiss citizenship, the article states. It is unknown whether he has changed his mind.

It is also unknown whether the authorities in Cologny in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, where WEF is headquartered and Schwab lives, have agreed with the proposal.

The plan looks set to run into opposition from Maurer’s own political party, the Swiss People’s Party. “Mr Schwab’s services are undisputed, but the award of honorary Swiss citizenship to individuals is un-Swiss,” People’s Party president Albert Rösti is quoted by SonntagsZeitung.

In 2015, WEF was granted the same status as an “international organisation” as the likes of the International Committee of the Red Cross in recognition of its value to the Swiss state.

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