ETH: Swiss optimistic about the country's future, but worry about the world

ETH: Swiss optimistic about the country's future, but worry about the world

The latest “Security 2023” study by ETH Zurich, commissioned by the government, has revealed what people in Switzerland are worried about in the coming year. While a significant majority say they are optimistic about the future of the alpine nation, the same cannot be said for the rest of the world.

People in Switzerland optimistic about the future, says ETH Zurich

To create the survey, the Military Academy at ETH Zurich asked 1.238 Swiss citizens from across the country how hopeful they were about the future of Switzerland and the world as a whole, and whether they supported the policies being pursued by the government. In all, the university found that despite a decline of 5 percent when compared to 2022, 81 percent of the population are still optimistic about the future of Switzerland.

However, the same cannot be said for affairs overseas, with only 24 percent of respondents saying they are optimistic about the future of the world at large. "This reduction in optimism can most likely be attributed to the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022," experts told 20 Minuten. However, despite the outbreak of hostilities on the continent, 94 percent say they still feel safe in Switzerland.

What are the three most dangerous threats Switzerland faces?

In a first for the survey, organisers also asked what people thought were the three greatest threats to Switzerland this year. Taking the top spot with 42 percent of the vote was “wars and conflicts”, with "environmental protections" (34 percent) and "economic crises" (31 percent) rounding out the podium places.

Respondents were also quizzed on what they thought about some of the “hot-button” issues in the country today. In 2023, the study noted that while good economic relations with the European Union are still desired, only a minority want Switzerland to join the EU. Membership of NATO also remained a contentious issue, as it was last year: 55 percent called for rapprochement with the organisation, while only 33 percent called for Swiss membership.

Support for Swiss neutrality falls

The study also found that Swiss neutrality has become a far more contentious issue over the past year, falling from 97 percent support in 2022 to 91 percent in 2023. Today, only 55 percent of people say that Swiss neutrality helps the country avoid conflict, although 75 percent argue that Swiss sanctions against Russia are compatible with the policy.

Finally, experts noted that the Swiss population are split as to whether the Swiss military is able to “protect neutrality.” Despite this, support for the military in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine has increased, to the point where 78 percent see the Army as a “necessity.”

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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