Switzerland has a strong economy, but like the rest of Europe is currently experiencing an economic downturn as a result of the global economic crisis. Switzerland does not have a tradition of PPP projects. Traditionally, public infrastructure projects have been funded by the state. The healthy State finances and the reluctance of authorities and the general population to see fundamental State tasks delegated to private parties mean that only a few PPP projects have been completed in Switzerland so far. However, concessions are used in certain specific areas. Basically, there is no specific legislation with regard to PPPs and no general concession law in Switzerland. Concessions are regulated in the legislation governing specific fields of law (e.g. in the Federal Railway Act). Concessions may be regulated by law on all three State levels in Switzerland (federal, cantonal and municipal). In Switzerland concessions are a widely used tool of public law, used to grant certain rights, which are the sole preserve of the government, to private individuals or companies. Concessions are often used to delegate the performance of tasks to private firms where the activity involves danger or where resources are limited. The process of granting a concession for which several interested parties apply is in some cases governed by procedures similar to procurement law so as to secure fair selection of the concessionaire. Concessions are protected by the principle of free ownership of property. Therefore if the concessionaire is not in breach of the terms and conditions of the concession, the revocation of a concession is only possible in exchange for full compensation, and is regarded as an expropriation.
Switzerland does not have a tradition of PPP projects. Historically, public infrastructure projects are funded by the state. The healthy State finances and the reluctance of the public with regard to delegating what are traditionally “State” tasks to private parties mean that only a few PPP projects have been realised in Switzerland. As a result, so far there has been no need for a specific legislation with regard to PPP.
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