20 21

Annual Report



In our 2020 annual report we noted that Switzerland was increasingly confronted with challenges that call for global solutions. While we were primarily referring to the pandemic and climate change, we also mentioned security policy and international tensions. The pandemic now seems to have lost the worst of its sting, at least for the time being. The problem of climate change has also been recognized and is being addressed, albeit by way of state interventions that are all too often expensive and ineffectual.

But it was hard to imagine in 2021 that a war of aggression in Europe would shake us to such an extent. We now have to come to terms with the fact that even the worst scenarios could come to pass from one day to the next. For too long, Western Europe has lived with the idea of peace, freedom, and economic growth; the events of recent months have taught us to think the unthinkable.

Whatever comes our way in the future, we must not fall into blind action for the sake of action, symbolic politics, and sham solutions. Our aim at Avenir Suisse is to pinpoint developments that pose a risk to this country and propose and propagate free-market solutions.

We back up our analysis with economic facts and work for effective and efficient reforms that as far as possible benefit everyone – both employees and employers, both the climate and society in general.

Only a prospering economy can tackle the most burning challenges successfully. The fact that Switzerland hasn’t yet seen the kind of division of society that has occurred in so many Western countries has a lot to do with this prosperity. It’s based on a consensus-oriented and integrative – in other words a liberal – set of values. Avenir Suisse helps defend democratic values.

Switzerland’s prosperity depends to a very significant extent on the global exchange of goods and services. We have to consolidate this country’s role in the international community. We can’t achieve anything – not even our own wellbeing – in splendid isolation. The reputation we enjoy in the world is based on our education system, our labor market, our system of decentralized federalism, and our comparatively moderate fiscal burden. At Avenir Suisse we want to help ensure we continue to earn this respect. If we manage this our voice will be heard, no matter how small our country.


Senior Fellow and Head of Open Switzerland Research
Open Switzerland

“Renationalization and isolationism are the wrong path for our highly connected country. Openness is one of the cornerstones of prosperity, so Switzerland needs preferential trade relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.”

Senior Open Switzerland Researcher
Open Switzerland

“Avenir Suisse didn’t just adopt freedom as a key tenet with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. In our freedom index we reveal and compare the consequences of limiting freedom in the cantons every year.”

Researcher Sustainable welfare state
Sustainable welfare state

“Quick access to innovative, high-priced medicines is a major challenge for patients, the pharma industry, and insurers. The FOPH’s current system of fixing prices is outmoded. The valuation models will have to be adjusted.”

Researcher Infrastructure and Markets
Effective infrastructure and markets

“Practically our whole daily life takes place online. But to make best use of the benefits of digitalization we need a high-performance internet infrastructure. For this reason we have produced a series of blogposts analyzing in depth the economic and political aspects of the ongoing expansion of the fiber optic network.”

Open Switzerland Researcher
Open Switzerland

“The pandemic showed how important it is to have open borders. Our publication on the free movement of persons demonstrates that this doesn’t just apply on a personal level, but also for the prosperity of Switzerland.”

Researcher Smart Government
Smart Government

“Crises put the robustness of our state institutions to the test, but they also create room for new ideas.”

Senior Fellow and Head of Infrastructure and Markets Research
Effective infrastructure and markets

“From quarantine and debt to the independence of the SNB, the Covid-19 pandemic has raised many questions. In various publications we have come up with new answers.”

Senior Fellow and Head of Program Planning & Research
Effective infrastructure and markets

“Stimulus packages are staging an international comeback in the wake of coronavirus. But past experience has shown that this type of program is generally of only very limited use.”

Infrastructure and Markets Researcher
Effective infrastructure and markets

“The digital infrastructure is increasingly becoming the backbone of our society. In our publication on 5G we therefore came out firmly in favor of a high-performance mobile infrastructure.”

Director for French-speaking Switzerland and Head of Sustainable Welfare Policy Research
Sustainable welfare state

“The pandemic has had consequences for all forms of social insurance: on the expenditure side because of death, (mental) illness, and unemployment, and on the income side because of lower employee contributions and tax revenues.”

Sustainable Welfare Policy Researcher
Sustainable welfare state

“An effective prevention policy has to take account of the impact of noncommunicable diseases on the healthcare system without degenerating into paternalism. Companies have an essential role to play.”

Senior Fellow and Head of Smart Government Research
Smart Government

“In 2021 Avenir Suisse produced a comprehensive and carefully prepared publication discussing the environmental and economic aspects of climate change and approaches to an effective climate policy in Switzerland.”

Fellow Smart Government
Smart Government

“Decentralized federalism is a valuable asset, also in times of crisis. As the latest Canton Monitor shows, if the cantons hadn’t had leeway in key areas of pandemic management such as testing, widespread vaccination and crisis organization, Switzerland wouldn’t have survived coronavirus so well.”

Senior Fellow and Head of Equal Opportunity Society Research
Equal opportunity society

“We develop strategies for a functioning labor market, more effective integration of women in the workplace, a sustainable social partnership, and a modern and innovative education system.”

Equal Opportunity Society Researcher
Equal opportunity society

“A flexible education system isn’t just a prerequisite for a prospering labor market, but also facilitates social mobility.”

Verena Parzer-Epp

Head of Communications and IT

“During the coronavirus pandemic we’ve been able to substantially step up our presence both on digital channels and in the print, radio, and TV media.”

Communications, editorial responsibility

“We’re constantly extending our range of communication channels in an attempt to get the insights from our research to as wide an audience as possible.  We love meticulously produced books just as much as addressing our audience directly via electronic media.”

Visual Communications

“The digital media have increased the possibilities for visual communication enormously. Designing short text formats, videos, and graphics requires just as much care as traditional books.”

Key Figures

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The 2021 financial year saw a year-on-year decline in infrastructure and operating expenses. Endeavours to modernize in-house IT, initiated at the beginning of the pandemic, were completed. At the same time, with some events having to take place online, there was a year-on-year increase in expenses for events and investor relations. Personnel expense was up slightly year on year because of staff turnover and insourcing. Overall we kept to our CHF 5.5 million budget.

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Fortunately, with the gradual subsiding of the pandemic, taking part in conferences and panel discussions has again become part of our staff’s day-to-day routine. But podcasts have also enjoyed growing popularity. Last year they notched up a total of 22,463 plays, 79% of which were so-called impactful plays where people listened to at least 75% of the podcast. After a successful launch in 2020, Democratia, a mobile game giving a younger audience a fun, digital means of experiencing Switzerland’s system, continued to flourish. In the 2021 reporting year it recorded an additional 32,109 downloads and 84,604 game starts, as well as becoming a two-time recipient of the Indigo design award, with wins in the Game Design for Social Change 2021 and Mobile Games 2021 categories.

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Support Foundation:

The Support Foundation is charged with securing sustained funding for Avenir Suisse by way of active fundraising. In the year under review 13 new donors were acquired, and 39 existing donors declared their willingness to renew their commitment when it came up. The donors (members of the support group) support the think tank through substantial one-time or recurrent contributions, generally paid over three to five years. In response to the greater need for personal exchange as the pandemic has subsided, in 2021 a summer meet-up was also held in addition to the “traditional” big events, the annual dinner and the fall conference.