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Opening of the 2012 Ambassadors and International Network Conference20.08.2012
The 2012 Ambassadors and International Network Conference was opened in Bern with a speech by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter. The three-day event, which is entitled "Die Schweiz in der Welt - Vision 2022: ein Jahrzehnt gestalten" [Switzerland's role in the world – Vision 2022: shaping a decade], will address the possible development of foreign policy in the next ten years A number of different scenarios and challenges will be discussed in plenary sessions and by working groups.
In his opening speech, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, talked about likely foreign-policy developments in the upcoming decade. He said that Switzerland would stand by its tried and trusted principles: neutrality, universality of relations, and upholding rule-of-law principles. In today’s globalised, interdependent world, however, more and more influences were having an impact on Switzerland. "An accelerated tectonic shift seems to have taken hold of global geopolitics and the world economy", said Burkhalter. He emphasised that Switzerland would be focusing in greater depth on four areas: cultivating and enhancing links to neighbouring countries, continuing and renewing the bilateral way with the EU, promoting stability in the world through development cooperation, and expanding targeted partnerships, especially with emerging countries and through multilateral cooperation.
The FDFA Head went on to stress that Switzerland must continue to demonstrate solidarity and assume its share of responsibility for the future of the planet. As a small country, however, it would have to show special commitment, generate specific added value and always be one step ahead if it is to be able to increase its influence and scope for action. "Switzerland has no other choice but to demonstrate excellence", said Burkhalter.
On the second day of the Conference, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), will give a speech and link the motto of her year in office as President, "The future begins now", with the topic of the conference "Die Schweiz in der Welt - Vision 2022" [Switzerland's role in the world – vision 2022]. She will call on everyone to gear their decisions and actions systematically to the future and to implement the principle of sustainability in safeguarding Switzerland's interests abroad.
The Ambassadors and International Network Conference will run until 22 August. Some 230 representatives of Switzerland abroad have registered for the conference. This annual event provides ambassadors, consuls-general and directors of the cooperation offices of the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) with an opportunity to exchange opinions on current issues and important aspects of Swiss foreign policy and to talk with representatives of other federal agencies. The numerous plenary discussions and working groups will focus on the main topic of the conference, i.e. developments over the next ten years. These include areas such as cooperation with neighbouring countries, development aid and human rights in a fragile environment, relations with the EU, and strategic partnerships.
What does the young FDFA employees' Vision 2022 look like? A panel discussion will be held at which four younger diplomats will talk about their expectations of and ideas on foreign policy in the next ten years, about the challenges, and about Switzerland’s position in the world.
As in previous years, members of the Federal Council will again participate in individual workshops in Bern. Expected participants include Doris Leuthard (Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication DETEC), Ueli Maurer (Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport DDPS), Simonetta Sommaruga (Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP), Johann Schneider-Ammann (Federal Department of Economic Affairs FDEA) and Alain Berset (Federal Department of Home Affairs DHA). Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova will also take part in a workshop.
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
|Opening speech by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter
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