Switzerland. A diplomatic dispute arose in February when it became clear that Germany had bought a stolen list of names of German taxpayers with accounts in Switzerland of a former bank employee. According to COUNTRYAAH, Switzerland has a population of 8.545 million (2019). Germany defended the purchase and referred to a similar purchase of stolen information from Liechtenstein in 2008. Later Switzerland announced that from October, it will not help other countries to investigate tax forfeiture if the information comes from stolen data.
After several trips, a two-year-old conflict with Libya was set. Two Swiss businessmen detained in Libya were released, and in June the countries signed an agreement on normalized relations. Before that, the EU had been drawn into the conflict when Libya introduced visa halt for citizens of the Passport Union Schengen in response to Swiss visa restrictions. It was unclear whether the EU or Switzerland had made concessions to Libya to reach the settlement. The conflict arose when Swiss police in 2008 temporarily arrested a son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Khadaffi accused of assault. Libya reacted with financial sanctions to Switzerland and detained the two Swiss.
A change of government in September led Switzerland for the first time to have a government with more women than men.
The world’s longest train tunnel became a fact when a giant drill broke through one last piece of rock during the Sankt Gotthard massif in October. The 57 kilometer long railway tunnel shortens the transport distance between Switzerland and Italy. Fewer tractor transports through the Alpine landscape will yield environmental benefits when the tunnel is put into operation.
The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) obtained a referendum on the automatic expulsion of foreign nationals committing crimes. In November, voters said yes to the bill, which was expected to include burglaries and social security fraud. The issue was disputed in the country where about a fifth of the residents lack citizenship. The law, whose details have not been drawn up, also runs the risk of conflicting with international agreements concluded by Switzerland.