Thursday, August 3, 2017

In Age of Populism, Switzerland Balances Independence, Integration

Trevor Williams,

image (not from article) from

Outgoing diplomat explores lessons from the Swiss model for embracing globalization with democratic conditions

Switzerland is known for punctual trains that you can set your clock by, but few know that the country itself is a microcosm of a timekeeping device, says Andreas Maager, the outgoing Swiss consul general in Atlanta. ...

When it comes to the Swiss messaging in the U.S., the intricacies of its dealings with the EU take a back seat.

One hot topic in the bilateral relationship has been bank secrecy. The anonymity Switzerland’s private banks have prized since they were established largely by the French in the 18th century has created tensions in a modern world facing money laundering and terror finance. Changes to these policies have led to automatic information-sharing with the U.S. but have caused some traditionalists to pine for the good old days of hidden accounts.

As a small country aiming to make its splash in the U.S., Switzerland’s public diplomacy efforts focused on less contentious issues: showcasing its status as an important investor in the U.S. and promoting apprenticeships as a cure for the American skills gap.

“When you are coming as Switzerland to the U.S., I think you can’t send out too many messages,” he said. ...

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