Former Geneva City Mayor Discusses Geneva’s Challenges
Geneva, March 22, 2018: The American International Club (AIC) hosted an informative presentation by Guillaume Barazzone, member of the Swiss Parliament, member of the Geneva City Government and former Mayor of Geneva, at the Swissôtel Metropole on March 22nd.
Geneva is ranked 8th in the quality of living by Mercer. Mr. Barazzone emphasized that Geneva has always been a small and beautiful city which is due to growth based on its diversified economy and a very open approach. However, Geneva is developing a few big city challenges such as traffic. These problems are difficult to face because Geneva has not had a vision to manage this growth.
Mr. Barazzone described three big challenges facing Geneva. The first is to remain the capital of multilateralism by keeping International Geneva strong. The plan is to invest more in infrastructure in the next 5 years than in the past 50 years combined. This requires as well a continuing reinforcement of the airport capacity which is key to attracting more international companies and international diplomacy.
The second big challenge is securing the long term relationship with the EU which is critical to retaining access to European markets. These negotiations continue but have been negatively impacted by Brexit and the far right political parties. The third big challenge is to pass the tax reform. We need to move quickly on a stable fiscal framework and good conditions for corporations in order to retain them. The Vaud tax reform, passed last year, puts pressure on Geneva to pass their bill soon or risk delocalization to Vaud.
Mr. Barazzone stressed that in addition to challenges there are continual improvement projects. He cited new projects such as the CEVA which is one of the largest subways in an existing city, the Nouvelle Comédie which is the biggest theater in French speaking Switzerland and La Cité de la Musique with an investment of more than CHF 250 million by a private foundation.
The presentation finished with a discussion on the lake shoreline which is being upgraded. A new port, a new space for the Geneva Nautical Society and the Eaux-Vives beach are underway and a new vision for the rest of the lake shore is being considered.
AIC President, Ron Banks, closed-out the event by thanking Mr. Barazzone, presenting him a gift and lifetime AIC membership.