The pharmaceutical industry and universities are engaging in dialogue with stakeholders and the interested public on the issues of Switzerland as a pharmaceutical and research hub and the importance of the bilateral accords for future competitiveness. Leading representatives of industry and academia meet with local opinion leaders from business and politics as well as the broader public. Table-talks are held at midday and public events in the evening. The first midday event in Lucerne on 21 September was followed by both a midday table-talk and the first evening event (entitled “Economic openness – Quo vadis Switzerland?”) on 21 November in Zurich. Around 150 took up the invitation to the event in the Glockenhof Hotel.
Uncomplicated exports and access to qualified specialists
In his opening presentation, Novartis country president André Wyss stressed the importance of an open Switzerland. He referred in particular to the importance of the bilateral agreements with the EU. These are more important than ever now, he said, when the economy is also under pressure in other areas: to ensure that innovative medicines can continue to be developed, unbureaucratic access also to qualified people from Europe is crucial. But the agreements are also important because they have removed former trade barriers and, thanks to these agreements, we can produce medicines in Switzerland and export them to the 28 EU states without any complications.
Following this presentation, leading representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, the IT sector, academic research and business associations discussed the importance and opportunities of an open Switzerland. They were all agreed that loss of the bilateral agreements would be harmful to Switzerland. The discussion was moderated by Katja Gentinetta, political philosopher and adviser.
Further events will take place in 2017, i.e. in Solothurn (31 January), Lausanne (14 February), Zug (28 March) and Fribourg (April). The events start with a vox pop film, which shows the mood among the population, supplemented by a pocket brochure and basic documentation. The pocket flyer shows vividly why the bilateral agreements are important. The basic documentation contains facts and figures, key historic points and also stories of model Swiss family Wälti, which show how the bilateral agreements affect our day-to-day lives and often also make life easier.
The Europe events are organized in partnership with economiesuisse, swissuniversities and the cantonal chambers of commerce. It is a contribution by pharma and research to the economiesuisse campaign stark + vernetzt and the activities of Swissmem.
The events are also featured in the media. For example, a first article appeared in the Sunday newspaper Zentralschweiz am Sonntag on 4 September 2016, while the daily Tages-Anzeiger published a detailed report on the business associations’ campaign on 19 November, which included a video, cartoon and a poll that allowed readers to say whether they found the campaigning of business focused on dialogue and regional activities a good thing.