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The IMF ministerial committee, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), looked closely at the still fragile state of the world economy and financial markets. The IMF is somewhat less pessimistic than it was at the 2011 Annual Meeting. Above all, the breather taken by the industrialised nations must be used to secure a balanced and sustained recovery. President Widmer-Schlumpf stressed that consistent consolidation of government finances is indispensable in this respect.
In order to stabilise the global economy and support the situation on the financial markets in a sustainable manner, the IMFC members decided on an extraordinary temporary increase of over USD 430 in IMF resources. Within the scope of a concerted action, Switzerland has promised to make a contribution of USD 10 billion to this bolstering of the international financial system, subject to approval by parliament.
Switzerland has advocated an appropriate sharing of the burden among the substantial creditors. Moreover, the additional funds should be made available to the IMF only on a temporary basis. Finally, Switzerland will urge the IMF to comply with the agreed conditions in order for the necessary measures regarding budgetary, monetary, financial centre and structural policy to be implemented with the utmost consistency.
On behalf of the Federal Council, President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Poland under which Switzerland's overall leadership of the Swiss Bretton Woods constituency was confirmed and at the same time Poland was given greater leadership involvement.
Under the MoU, Switzerland will maintain overall leadership of the constituency in both the IMF and World Bank. It will represent the constituency in the responsible ministerial bodies, i.e. the IMFC and Development Committee, in which the political and strategic courses are set. However, Switzerland will share its seat on the IMF Executive Board – the IMF's operating decision-making body – and in future both countries will nominate the Executive Director for a two-year period on an equal rotation basis.
The rotation of the IMF Executive Director position is conditional on the actual implementation of the IMF's governance reform. This will probably be the case in 2014, so Poland will first nominate the Executive Director in 2016. In terms of the World Bank, where no reform is taking place yet, there will be no changes to the leadership structure for the time being.
President Widmer-Schlumpf signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia on regular financial dialogue. The purpose is to share experience and improve knowledge of the financial centres. Furthermore, the dialogue should help to identify common interests and pursue these jointly in international organisations such as the IMF, Financial Stability Board (FSB) and Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The finance ministers of the 36 members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) adopted a new mandate for 2012-2020. The mandate provides for the continuation of the existing objectives and duties of the FATF, such as improving the mutual evaluation processes and devising joint guidelines on better implementation of the 40 recommendations on combating money laundering, the financing of terrorism and now also the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.A whole series of bilateral contacts took place on the fringes of the event. Among others, President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf met yesterday with Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, in order to discuss bilateral cooperation on tax issues. They agreed to pursue all available options to identify US taxpayers with undeclared accounts in Switzerland.