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Ogi against car-cutting initiative

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, opening the 70th Geneva motor show, has voiced his opposition to a popular initiative aimed at halving the traffic on Swiss roads.

This content was published on March 2, 2000 - 14:51

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, opening the 70th Geneva motor show, has voiced his opposition to a popular initiative aimed at halving the traffic on Swiss roads.

Ogi said the initiative, if successful, would put a brake on economic growth. Jobs, personal freedom and Switzerland's bilateral agreements with the European Union would also be put at risk, he said.

The president said that the Swiss owed their prosperity to their mobility, saying the country's roads and railways were important factors in giving people more freedom, and made Switzerland a crossroads of central Europe.

The initiative, which goes to a nationwide vote on March 12, was launched by environmental groups. They say that halving the number of cars would improve quality of life by cutting air and noise pollution, and reduce the number of deaths in road traffic accidents.

The groups want to see petrol prices increased and public transport expanded and made more attractive.

In his speech, Ogi praised the motor show for being a showcase for the latest technology in safety, energy, environmental protection and design. He said the show reminded him that there was a shared responsibility for globalisation. He repeated the appeal he made at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos in January for economic decision makers and politicians to take more responsibility.

Some 700,000 visitors are expected to visit the Geneva car show between now and March 12, when it closes its doors.





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