Diaspora communities can play a crucial role in the advancement of developing countries. Thanks to the expertise they acquire abroad, their experience and their remittances, people living abroad can make a significant contribution to improving the situation in their home countries. At a two-day conference of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), delegations from some 60 countries are discussing diaspora communities' potential as part of development policy. This is the first event to serve as an international platform for diaspora ministries and representatives.
Today in Bern, Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and EU Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta held talks on unresolved tax issues. In the area of business taxation, Switzerland reaffirmed its willingness to adjust certain tax regimes provided the EU dispenses with defensive measures against Switzerland. Regarding the automatic exchange of information, Finance Minister Widmer-Schlumpf stressed the importance of a global standard.
States are meeting for the second time on 17 and 18 June 2103 in Geneva at the initiative of Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to find concrete means to strengthen compliance with international humanitarian law. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and ICRC President Peter Maurer opened the meeting. In his speech, Mr Burkhalter underscored the urgent need to strengthen compliance with existing rules and called for the establishment of a meeting of States that would facilitate regular and systematic dialogue on international humanitarian law.
(Obsan) - Minor depression is widespread in Switzerland and should not be underestimated due to its consequences. This was the result of an evaluation of various data sources carried out by the Swiss Health Observatory and Psychiatrie Baselland. The study shows that those affected are more often unfit for work, suffer from loss of performance and physical complaints. There is a strong correlation between employment status and the course of disease and treatment.
Switzerland makes a positive assessment of the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which closes today. During this session nearly 30 resolutions have been dealt with, and the situation in Syria was again on the agenda. Today, the Council has passed a resolution on the situation in Syria with a large majority. The resolution supports the political process, condemns all use of force, demands accountability for violations of international law, asks all States to increase humanitarian aid and demands that Syria cooperate with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
During its meeting today, the Federal Council took due note of an initial report of the group of experts for the further development of the financial market strategy. The Federal Council is prepared to cooperate actively, within the scope of the OECD, on the development of a global standard for the automatic exchange of information to ensure the tax compliance of foreign asset management clients that satisfies the exacting requirements for compliance with the principle of speciality and data protection, guarantees reciprocity and incorporates reliable rules for determining the beneficial owners of entities of all legal forms, including trusts and domiciliary companies.
At the UN Counter-Terrorism Coordinators Conference in Geneva, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter reaffirmed the importance of worldwide cooperation to combat terrorism. The conference provides a platform to discuss solutions to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
(FSO) - The Producer and Import Price Index calculated by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) fell by 0.3% in May 2013 compared with the previous month, reaching 98.3 points (base December 2010 = 100). This decline is due in particular to lower prices for oil and petroleum products. While the producer price index for domestically produced goods decreased by 0.3%, import prices showed a decline of 0.4%. The price level of the whole range of domestic and imported products dropped by 0.2% year on year.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will highlight Switzerland’s commitment to the abolition of the death penalty this evening at today’s opening of the 5th World Congress against the Death Penalty which is taking place in Madrid until Saturday. Capital punishment is incompatible with the values Switzerland represents and impacts on its other obligations such as the prohibition of discrimination. Switzerland aims to ensure that States which have not as yet abolished the death penalty place a moratorium on its use.
Two decisions were adopted at the 4th meeting of the Switzerland/European Union Statistical Committee (Joint Committee) which took place in Geneva. One replaces Annex A of the bilateral agreement in the field of statistics with the European Union (EU) whereas the second approves the specific Switzerland/EU annual statistical programme for 2013. These decisions were approved by the Federal Council and enter into force immediately.