Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA

New structure and leadership for FDFA State Secretariat

The newly restructured State Secretariat of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA started work at the beginning of 2021. It comprises six geographic and five thematic divisions. Now located under one roof, their close proximity will result in greater coherence in Swiss foreign policy as a whole. The State Secretariat is headed by State Secretary Livia Leu. She will be supported by two Deputy State Secretaries, Patric Franzen and Johannes Matyassy, who also have line management responsibilities.

A row of portrait photographs showing Livia Leu, Johannes Matyassy and Patric Franzen

State Secretary Livia Leu has been in charge of the newly restructured State Secretariat of the FDFA since 1 January 2021. As Deputy State Secretaries, Patric Franzen (r.) and Johannes Matyassy (l.) support her in her leadership role, while also fulfilling line management responsibilities. © FDFA/KEYSTONE

The newly restructured State Secretariat of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA began work on 1 January 2021. It brings the former Directorate for European Affairs and the Directorate of Political Affairs together under one roof. The new State Secretariat now comprises six geographic divisions – Europe, Eurasia, 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 2020–23. In addition, the State Secretariat includes divisions providing special services: Protocol, the Crisis Management Centre, the Analysis and Forecasting Centre and the Events Division. 

Chart showing the new organisational structure of the State Secretariat.
State Secretariat: new organisational structure © FDFA

Two deputy state secretaries with line management responsibility

The State Secretariat is headed by Livia Leu. The former ambassador to Paris and Tehran was most recently in charge of the Directorate for European Affairs. In October 2020 she was appointed by the Federal Council as chief negotiator with the EU. She retains this function alongside her responsibilities as state secretary.

State Secretary 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.
  • 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.

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