Your Daily Scan of the New Global Economy


Intel Switzerland

  • LĂ©man Express attracts 25,000 passengers a day

    Léman Express, the biggest cross-border regional rail network in Europe, pulls in some 25,000 passengers a day – half its projected target.  But according to Mario Werren, director general of Lémanis SA, the Franco-Swiss firm operating the new network, the number of passengers using the cross-border network between Switzerland and France is above expectations.  Werren told reporters on Monday that he was positively surprised by the uptake from passengers, which he had expected to be slower.  Launched on December 15, Léman Express comprises 45 stations and 230 kilometres of track and extends into canton Vaud in Switzerland and the Haute-Savoie and Ain regions in France. The authorities hope it will attract 50,000 passengers a day and slash road traffic by 12% in the Greater Geneva region.  Geneva officials say it is too early to assess the impact of Léman Express on commuting and on other forms of transport, such as cars.  Meanwhile, the launch of the new network has been …


  • Neon banking app slashes fees in growth drive

    Swiss financial services company Neon says it will scrap card fees for customers shopping abroad to spearhead an ambitious drive to boost the number of clients to 250,000 in the next two years. The Zurich-based fintech company has laid down a challenge to foreign competitors, such as Revolut and N26, with its announcement. From Monday (January 20) customers will no longer have to pay a combined 3.3% commission and exchange rate mark-up using the Neon Mastercard outside of Switzerland. “We are going into attack mode,” Neon co-founder and chief marketing officer Julius Kirscheneder told “We want to move fast and challenge the market. There is a clear need for Swiss-driven financial services of this nature.” Neon also stated on Monday that is also lowering its fees for withdrawing cash abroad. The existing 1.5% commission will remain, but it has dropped an additional CHF2 flat fee for this service. The move appears to be aimed at disrupting the progress of other …


  • Swiss firms lauded for climate protection measures

    Nestlé, Givaudan, Panalpina and the Bern Cantonal Bank are among 179 companies given a top “A” rating in a global survey of transparency and action on climate change. On Monday, non-profit group Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) published its study of 8,000 companies worldwide. Only 2% of them made it onto the A-list, the organisation said. Seven Swiss companies received an A, and another nine got an A-, among them UBS, Swiss Re, Barry Callebaut and Novartis. Globally, top companies include Microsoft, Orsted, Sainsburys, Sony, Samsung Engineering, Unilever and Walmart. The companies on the A-list had achieved this position by disclosing their environmental data in a transparent and comprehensive manner. They also showed a “thorough” awareness of climate risks, according to CDP. For example, they had switched to renewable energies, invested in low-CO2 product innovations, or provided incentives for their suppliers to reduce emissions. Japan and the US were the nations with the …


  • Swiss president upbeat after EU meeting in Davos

    Rotating Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga says her first meeting with the President of the European Commission was constructive. Switzerland and the European Union are trying to hammer out an institutional framework agreement – a process that has been difficult and time-consuming. Sommaruga said she sensed an “interest in solutions” on both sides, with Brussels “showing the will to cooperate” in the run-up to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Sommaruga – who is also the Swiss environment, transport and energy minister – met Ursula von der Leyen, the new EU Commission President, on Monday afternoon on the sidelines of WEF. Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis and Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter also took part in the talks. The tough negotiations on an institutional framework agreement were at the heart of the discussion. “We did not provoke each other,” said Sommaruga to the media afterwards. “There are differences; I don’t have to pretend with you.” Sommaruga underlined the …


  • Swiss-funded projects in Romania and Bulgaria get thumbs up

    Most of the 93 Swiss-backed “cohesion fund” projects in Bulgaria and Romania were a success, reports the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). At the end of 2019, projects carried out as part of Switzerland’s contribution to European Union enlargement for Bulgaria and Romania came to an end. Although it is not an EU member, Switzerland paid CHF257 million ($265 million) to support these two eastern European nations – as it had for several other new EU members – in an effort to reduce economic and social disparities within Europe. SECO announced on Monday that, as with the projects in the other eastern countries, the results of the Bulgarian and Romanian projects had been positive. One focus was promoting energy efficiency and renewable energies. As a result, Romania has reduced its CO2 emissions by 7,000 tons per year, SECO said. Other projects focused on integrating the Roma. According to SECO, Swiss projects have helped around 70,000 Roma gain better access to …


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