A stable, efficient political system

Switzerland is often called " the oldest democracy in the world ": dating all the way back to 1291, the founding pact of the Swiss Confederation is based on a concept of collective power.

Modern-day Switzerland is a confederation of 26 sovereign states, called cantons, grouped together in a federal state. This federal structure is what guarantees the legendary stability of the political, legal and social system in Switzerland, which underpins the development of its economy.

Like the other cantons, Vaud enjoys a large degree of autonomy and retains the majority of the political and administrative power within its boundaries. It has its own parliament, executive branch and judicial system. In concrete terms, the Swiss constitution (french/german) allows for everything that is not explicitly delegated to the federal state to remain within the jurisdiction of the cantons. This is notably the case in terms of fiscal policy, where the canton of Vaud enjoys a large degree of freedom. This latitude is what allows it to apply favourable tax rules for companies wishing to establish themselves in its jurisdiction. It also helps the authorities and the administration to stay attuned and responsive to the needs of its citizens and local enterprises.

Although it is located right at the heart of the continent of Europe, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, which means it is not directly subject to the EU’s rules and regulations either. Switzerland has, on the other hand, negotiated more than 150 bilateral agreements with its big European neighbours, ensuring close cooperation and mutual advantages in numerous areas, including the free movement of people, the removal of technical obstacles to trade, research, and so on.


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The canton of Vaud in 2015
Basic data about geography, history, economy and institutions