ZURICH, June 19, 2003 ( – A European Union-sponsored study by the University of Zurich has found that Switzerland, with seven out of ten terminally ill people ending their lives with euthanasia, has the highest euthanasia rate in Europe.

Of 3,350 deaths examined in Switzerland, half were found to be by active or passive euthanasia.  Doctors cutting off life support, or passive euthanasia, was the cause of death in one third of the cases. The study also found Switzerland with the highest rate assisted suicide, which accounted for 0.4 per cent of deaths, some 500 per year.  The study, which also looked at Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Sweden found active euthanasia highest in the Netherlands with 2.6 per cent of deaths due to doctors actively killing patients.  Assisted suicide accounted for 0.2 per cent of deaths in the Netherlands, 0.01 per cent in Belgium and there were no recorded cases of it in Sweden or Italy.  See the Swiss Info coverage: