On 1 January 2021, the newly structured State Secretariat of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) took up its work under the directorship of Livia Leu. The former ambassador to Paris and Tehran was most recently in charge of the Directorate for European Affairs (DEA). In October 2020 she was appointed by the Federal Council as chief negotiator with the EU. She will retain this function in her capacity as State Secretary FDFA.
State Secretary Livia Leu is supported by two deputy state secretaries:
- Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis has appointed Patric Franzen as deputy state secretary and head of the Europe Division. A diplomat, Mr Franzen's career has involved posts including deputy head of mission in Moscow, and four years in charge of the Federal Council's Europe-related dossiers as head of the Directorate Staff Unit and member of management of the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters at the Federal Department of Finance. He has been in charge of the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi since 2018. Until Patric Franzen takes office as deputy state secretary and head of the Europe Division in the (early) summer of 2021, Ambassador Josef Renggli, previously head of the Economics Division at the DEA, will head the Europe Division.
- Johannes Matyassy has also been appointed deputy state secretary. His role will include political consultations with selected countries, as well as specific mandates within the State Secretariat. Mr Matyassy is simultaneously director of the Consular Directorate at the FDFA. His previous positions include head of the FDFA's Asia and Pacific Division, Switzerland's ambassador to Argentina, and head of Presence Switzerland.
The two deputy state secretary roles are not full-time positions. Mr Franzen and Mr Matyassy will continue in parallel to fulfil their own line management responsibilities. Mr Cassis informed the Federal Council of these appointments on 13 January 2021.
New structure of the State Secretariat strengthens coherence of foreign policy
In the newly restructured State Secretariat, the former Directorate for European Affairs (DEA) and the Directorate of Political Affairs have been brought together under one roof. The new State Secretariat now comprises six geographic divisions – Europe, Eurasia, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Middle East and North Africa – as well as the five thematic divisions of Peace and Human Rights, International Security, Digitalisation, Sectoral Affairs and UN. The close proximity of the geographic and thematic divisions will result in greater coherence in Switzerland's foreign policy. The thematic divisions also cover the focus areas that the Federal Council has determined for the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–2023. In addition, the State Secretariat includes divisions providing special services: Protocol, the Crisis Management Centre, the Analysis and Forecasting Centre and the Events Division.
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