The agenda of the President of the Confederation at a glance

The New Year greetings ceremony with the diplomatic corps, the 1 August message to the nation. But also the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano. The main appointments of the President of the Confederation and Head of the FDFA, Ignazio Cassis, are summarised in short news and pictures.

24.11.2022

At the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Ignazio Cassis strongly emphasised the fact that climate change remains one of the greatest challenges of our time. © FDFA

20.11.2022 – State visit to Belgium

Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation, was welcomed by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde on a state visit to Belgium on Thursday, 24 November. "Our two countries share a characteristic that is particularly close to my heart: Multilingualism - and in this case, two common national languages. I look forward to discovering in Liège and Leuven some facets of the diversity - and thus the richness - of these two regions of the Kingdom," said the President of the Confederation at the royal reception.

The talks between Prime Minister De Croo and President Cassis focused on bilateral economic and scientific relations, the war in Ukraine, European energy supplies and security in Europe. Further topics included Switzerland’s European policy and its priorities during its term on the UN Security Council. "The strong ties between Switzerland and Belgium are based on shared values that we share: Democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and commitment to stability and peace in the world," declared Ignazio Cassis in Brussels.

President Cassis received by King Philippe on a state visit to Belgium, Press release, 24.11.2022 

Speech 

20.11.2022 – Ignazio Cassis at the 18th Francophonie Summit

President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis travelled to Djerba to take part in the 18th Summit of La Francophonie. Some 30 heads of state and government took part in the meeting, which was held under the theme 'Connectivity in diversity: digital technology as a vector of development and solidarity in the Francophone space.

In Djerba, Switzerland assumed the vice-presidency of the Summit. This was an opportunity for the President of the Confederation to underscore the role of new technologies in improving public services and the lives of the most disadvantaged. International Geneva, " ideal breeding ground for digital cooperation and the development of new approaches," was highlighted by President Ignazio Cassis. Digitalisation is one of the four thematic focus of Switzerland's Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23.

The Summit also provided an opportunity to exchange views on strengthening the role of women and young people as agents of peace and development, centred on inclusion through education and employment. Switzerland is committed to sharing its expertise in the fields of education and vocational training, two of the priority themes of its International Cooperation Strategy 2021-2024.

Francophonie summit: President of the Swiss Confederation promotes Geneva's role in global digital governance, Press release, 20.11.2022

Geneva: sharing expertise to benefit the digital French-speaking world

10.11.2022 – Day of Languages

On the occasion of the Day of Languages organised by the Federal Chancellery, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, gave a speech to the translators of the Federal Administration, the protagonists of this meeting. "I thank you for inviting me to this meeting, because I think I will find in this room many people who share the same experience as me. The experience of living the challenge and the beauty of plurality on a daily basis” this is how Ignazio Cassis opened his speech.

07.11.2022 – Ignazio Cassis at the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh

During his speech at the summit, which was attended by around 100 heads of state and government, Mr Cassis strongly emphasised the fact that climate change remains one of the greatest challenges of our time.  

Mr Cassis, who is also head of the FDFA, went on to state that "climate change has left a particularly devastating legacy this year" in reference to the floods in Pakistan as well as heatwaves and droughts in several parts of the world. He added that Switzerland would therefore continue to maintain its climate targets, despite the current energy crisis.

Mr Cassis signed a bilateral climate agreement with Morocco's Minister for Energy Transition and Sustainable Development Leila Benali on the margins of the conference.

At COP27, President Cassis exchanged views with the new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, the new Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Mohammad Shtayyeh as well as the Presidents of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, Romania, Klaus Iohannis, and Israel, Isaac Herzog.

Speech

18.10.2022 – President Cassis speaks on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the DODIS research centre

The DODIS research institute has become the most important centre of competence for the history of Swiss foreign policy. President Ignazio Cassis paid tribute to the centre on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. "DODIS knows how to enhance all that the public administration has archived over time to make it understandable for all, with a special thought for future generations," he said in his speech.

Speech

14.10.2022 – The President of the Confederation shares his vision of anticipatory science diplomacy

At the second summit of the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) Foundation in Geneva, the President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis spoke before a group of ministers, scientists and diplomats. He shared his vision of anticipatory science diplomacy.

The aim of the GESDA Foundation is to build bridges between the diplomatic world and the scientific world, in order to facilitate relations between state actors. "GESDA is not a substitute for legitimate governance actors, but rather a tool at their disposal," said Ignazio Cassis. Anticipatory diplomacy allows emerging problems to be tackled "with as much common ground as possible" between all stakeholders, before handing over to the states. "It is too late to accelerate diplomacy for existing challenges. When the problem is there, the window of opportunity has already closed," he said.

Many political actors participated in the GESDA Summit. On this occasion, Ignazio Cassis met Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Foreign Minister, for a bilateral exchange. There was also an exchange with Sarah Bint Yousif Al-Amiri, the UAE Minister of State for Education and Advanced Technology.

Press release

12.10.2022 – Insight into the Federal Presidency

On 11 October 2022, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis received special support in the exercise of his office: As part of the International Day of the Girl Child, 22-year-old law student Bettina Brunner took on various tasks for the President of the Confederation. Among other things, she picked up the new ambassador of Norway and accompanied her to President Cassis so that Kjersti Rødsmoen could hand over her credentials.

The International Day of the Girl Child is a day of action initiated by the UN. It is intended to draw attention to the difficult situation of girls in many countries of the world and at the same time to their rights.

On this day of action, takeover actions are carried out – as in the FDFA: Girls and young women take on the role of other people. These takeover actions are organised in Switzerland by the organisation Plan International.

Plan International (de)

10.10.2022 – President Cassis visits Council of Europe in Strasbourg

President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis presented Switzerland's goals and visions for the future of the Council of Europe to the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. He reiterated Switzerland's solidarity with the Council, considered as an essential element for constructive dialogue in Europe and as an instrument to promote European values in the best possible way in times of upheaval. 

Standing behind a lectern, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
In Strasbourg, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis recalled Switzerland's commitment to the Council of Europe and the values it embodies. © FDFA

“The crises we are currently experiencing (...) must not leave us in disarray. Nor can they leave us indifferent. On the contrary, they remind us of our duty to commit ourselves to the values which are ours and which are those embodied by the Council of Europe,” stated President Cassis, also emphasising Switzerland's commitment.

This address was particularly symbolic as it was the first visit by a President of the Confederation to the Council of Europe for more than 30 years – Flavio Cotti travelled to Strasbourg in 1991.

Press release

"It was a major shock but it hasn't weakened the Council of Europe, it has made it stronger", article

06.10.2022 – President Cassis in Prague at first meeting of European Political Community

On 6 October, President Ignazio Cassis represented Switzerland at the first meeting of the European Political Community. The aim of this new gathering is to bring together states from inside and outside the European Union (EU) to foster political dialogue and cooperation in Europe. Switzerland sees this an opportunity to strengthen exchanges among European partners.

Press release

President Cassis and French President Emmanuel Macron face each other and talk.
President Cassis speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron at the "European Political Community" meeting. © Office of the Government of the Czech Republic

20.09.2022 – Switzerland's strengths in multilateral work

Switzerland has added value to contribute in tackling global challenges, stated President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday 20 September 2022. He outlined how Switzerland's strengths are more important than ever in today's geopolitical situation. In future, Switzerland aims to work even harder for open dialogue, confidence-building and closer cooperation between states. President Cassis will attend various events and hold bilateral talks with several heads of state and government on Tuesday and Wednesday.

President Ignazio Cassis speaks before the UN General Assembly in New York.
President Cassis explains the added value that Switzerland can contribute to the international community in his address to the UN General Assembly. © FDFA

"The UN offers a unique framework for realising that which comes first in its charter – namely uniting our strengths to safeguard world peace and international security," said Cassis in his address to the members of the UN General Assembly. He explained the added value that Switzerland can offer the international community in making compromises and consensus possible and strengthening multilateralism. In a world marked by crises and wars, this is more important than ever before.

Newsfeed

Address by the President of the Swiss Confederation to the UN General Assembly

19.09.2022 – State funeral for Queen Elizabeth II

Around 2,000 people, including numerous heads of state and government, paid their last respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II at London's Westminster Abbey on 19 September 2022. President Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola represented Switzerland at the state funeral. On the fringes of the occasion, President Cassis met the new King Charles III.

From London, President Cassis travelled on to New York, where he represented Switzerland at the high-level opening week of the 77th UN General Assembly.

President Cassis speaks with King Charles III. President Cassis’ wife Paola stands behind him in line.
At a reception at Buckingham Palace for guests attending the state funeral at Westminster Abbey, President Cassis speaks with King Charles III. © Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office_fergusburnett.com

14.09.2022 – Destination: Svizzera italiana

Following an invitation from the Canton of Ticino, President Ignazio Cassis travelled by special train from Bern to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland on 14 September 2022 for the celebrations marking his presidential year. He was accompanied by Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin as well as members of parliament, employees of the Federal Administration and high-ranking guests from all over Switzerland. The train stopped four times for meetings with representatives of cantonal and municipal authorities and the population.

The video of the Presidential journey. © FDFA

10.09.2022 – 20 years of UN membership: President Cassis inaugurates Palais des Nations model in Ticino

President Cassis inaugurating a Palais des Nations model at Swissminiatur in Melide.
The Palais des Nations model at Swissminiatur in Melide (canton Ticino) symbolises the global relevance of multilateralism and the work of International Geneva. © FDFA

On 10 September 2022, President Cassis praised Switzerland's decision to join the UN 20 years ago and inaugurated a model of the Palais des Nations at Swissminiatur in Melide (canton Ticino) as a tribute to International Geneva and a symbol of effective multilateralism. The ceremony took place in the presence of the foreign diplomatic corps.

"Today is a special day. It is exactly 20 years to this day that Switzerland became a member of the United Nations," stated President Cassis during the annual outing of the foreign diplomatic corps in Switzerland. He then inaugurated a model of the UN's European headquarters, the Palais des Nations, in front of around 100 diplomats from all over the world and the director general of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Tatiana Valovaya.

"The people got it right"

29.08.2022 – Official visit of the President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog to Bern

Sitting around a table, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis and Israeli President Isaac Herzog talk.
Peacebuilding was one of the main topics of discussion, with President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis offering Switzerland's good offices. © Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

The President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis and Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin received the President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog in Bern.

In this context, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Israel Science Foundation. The agreement will strengthen cooperation between Swiss and Israeli researchers. Ways of reinforcing cooperation between these two countries at the cutting edge of innovation were also discussed.

During the talks, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis called for an end to the cycles of violence that have caused untold suffering for the Palestinian and Israeli people. "I am convinced that what we need is a political horizon and a real political process based on a two-state solution and international law.” The President of the Confederation recalled Switzerland's willingness to facilitate the resumption of this dialogue by providing its good offices. 

Press release
MENA Strategy 2021-2024
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Israel

22.08.2022 – Opening of the Ambassadors' Conference in Pontresina

President Cassis stands at a lectern and speaks.
President Cassis during his speech at the Ambassadors 2022 Conference in Pontresina. © FDFA

At 10.58 am, the President of the Confederation declared the opening of this year's Ambassadors' Conference in Pontresina (Grisons). In an address that lasted just over half an hour, Ignazio Cassis outlined the current world situation, in which crisis management has become the new normal. "My speech today was long because I know that there is a before and an after to the war in Ukraine," he told the audience.

"Democracy is in danger and this must forge a new state of mind in all of us," he added. After the Covid-19 pandemic and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the President of the Confederation favoured one method for dealing with the new challenges: "Oser innover, oser anticiper".

"The world is becoming more and more uncertain and more and more difficult. In these circumstances, the ambassador's work changes. The motto "Oser innover" is not new; it was with this slogan that FDFA head Ignazio Cassis already opened the ambassadors' conference in 2019. This year, however, innovation must also be accompanied by a capacity for anticipation.

Pontresina was chosen as the venue for the 2022 meeting to pay tribute to Switzerland's linguistic and cultural diversity. "Our diversity is the strength that allows us to tackle problems head on," said Federal President Cassis.

The ambassadors' conference takes place from 22 to 24 August 2022.

Press release

Address by the President of the Swiss Confederation

03.08.2022 – Ignazio Cassis at the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York

President Ignazio Cassis speaks at a lectern.
President Cassis addresses the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York on 2 August 2022. © FDFA

President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis took part on 2 August 2022 in the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York. In his speech, Mr Cassis emphasised that Russia's nuclear threats illustrated the need for a package of measures to reduce nuclear risks. Recent developments in Ukraine have also shown that civilian nuclear facilities must be protected in situations of armed conflict. Switzerland thus wants to ensure nuclear safety and security and give new impetus to nuclear disarmament.

Mr Cassis called on the Conference to send a signal that nuclear weapons must never be used again: “This conference must set the course for an urgently needed change: to reduce the role of nuclear weapons, to reduce the likelihood of a nuclear accident or usage as a result of a misunderstanding. Words must be complemented by concrete action to avert humanitarian and environmental disasters.”

Press release

Address by the President of the Swiss Confederation

Nuclear threat – Switzerland calls for measures

29.07.2022 – Le 1er août du président de la Confédération Ignazio Cassis : Sur les rails de la diversité suisse

Pour célébrer la fête nationale, le lundi 1er août 2022, le président de la Confédération Ignazio Cassis entamera un voyage en train, ponctué de plusieurs arrêts à la rencontre de la population sur des lieux symboliques de l’histoire suisse. Il sera accompagné par une délégation de jeunes italophones qui seront ensuite rejoints par des jeunes Vaudois.

Map of Switzerland with the railway network, on which the places are marked in handwriting at which President Cassis makes stops on 1 August.
From Lugano to Lausanne: President Cassis' itinerary on 1 August. © FDFA

Cette journée de voyage débutera à Lugano (TI) et se terminera sous les feux d’artifices au bord du lac Léman. En chemin, Ignazio Cassis s’arrêtera à Knonau (ZH) pour partager un brunch populaire à la ferme, avant de rejoindre Grenchen (SO) et ses habitants. Tant Knonau, à proximité des terres qui ont vu les guerres de Kappel et la bataille du Sonderbund, que Grenchen, théâtre de luttes sociales, sont des symboles de cette capacité typiquement suisse de se réconcilier après des conflits parfois fratricides.

Toujours en train, le Président de la Confédération rejoindra la Suisse romande en fin de journée, destination Lausanne avec escale à Yverdon-les-Bains. Après son arrivée dans le nouveau quartier des Arts, sur l’esplanade de Plateforme 10, Ignazio Cassis rejoindra le quartier d’Ouchy pour assister au traditionnel feu d’artifice organisé par la Ville de Lausanne.

Communiqué de presse

05.07.2022 – Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022)

Group photo of conference delegates.
The conference was attended by 58 international delegations. © KEYSTONE/FDFA/Alessandro della Valle

At the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022), which took place on 4 and 5 July in Lugano, Switzerland and Ukraine – represented by President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal – drew up the 'Lugano Declaration' together with 58 delegations of states and international organisations.

The conference in a video

09.06.2022 – Switzerland's election to the UN Security Council

President Ignazio Cassis voting at the UN General Assembly in New York.
President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis voting at the UN General Assembly in New York. © FDFA

On 9 June 2022, the UN General Assembly elected Switzerland as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year period from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024. During its term, Switzerland will use its strengths to promote peace and security and position itself as a neutral bridge-builder, and promote its interests through direct contact with the major players on the international stage.

Switzerland will be able to use its seat on the Security Council to promote its stance more strongly and thus exert influence on international developments as a credible partner. "We are delighted with this election. We approach this task with respect, and are ready to engage constructively and assume responsibility as a member of the Security Council", said President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis, who was present at the election.

Switzerland's election to the UN Security Council

08.06.2022 – Meeting in Washington

The President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis met the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, in Washington. The talks focused on the situation in Ukraine.

23.05.2022 – President Cassis opens World Economic Forum in Davos

President Cassis stands at the lectern and speaks. In the background is a blue wall with "World Economic Forum" written on it.
President Cassis during his opening speech in Davos. © WEF

In connection with the war in Ukraine, Switzerland has shown itself to be cooperative as a neutral country. President Cassis underscored this in his opening remarks at the World Economic Forum. As a neutral country, Switzerland is committed to

  • strengthening its own and shared fundamental values,
  • securing its own and joint peace efforts,
  • and a rules-based, stable security architecture that can only be achieved multilaterally.

Russia's military aggression against Ukraine is a serious violation of basic norms of international law, and Switzerland has thus adopted the EU's sanctions against Russia.

Even if the end of the war is not yet in sight, our focus should be on the path to reconstruction and settling the economic consequences of the war, said the head of the FDFA. The Ukraine Recovery Conference will take place in Lugano at the beginning of July. "This conference should be the starting signal for the reconstruction of Ukraine," said Cassis.

In his speech, he also emphasised the need for focused multilateralism. A targeted strengthening of multilateralism and a return to core tasks is the right way to tackle issues that have a global impact and cannot be solved in isolation. These include issues such as the climate emergency and extreme poverty, as well as global economic crises, energy supply and mass migration.

Speeches by President Cassis at the World Economic Forum:

Opening remarks: «Reality is multilateral»

Address by Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation - WEF – Open Forum (german)

20.05.2022 – President Cassis receives Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Bern on Friday, 20 May 2022. Their talks focused on enhancing bilateral relations, the upcoming elections in Kenya, and matters related to the UN Security Council.

Press release

19.05.2022 – First state visit of the Slovak Republic to Switzerland

The Federal Council receives the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová and the Slovak delegation at the Federal Palace in Bern.
The state visit of the Slovak Republic to Switzerland is an opportunity to further deepen relations between the two countries. © FDFA

On Thursday, 19 May 2022, the Swiss government, led by President Ignazio Cassis, received the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová in Bern. It was the first time that a Slovak head of state was received in Switzerland – with the highest protocol honours. The visit underlined the excellent relations that have existed between the two countries since 1993, the year of the Slovak Republic's independence. Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), and Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok also took part in the official talks. The focus of the talks was on bilateral relations, the European policy of both countries, the situation in the Western Balkans, the Russian aggression against Ukraine and its consequences for the security architecture in Europe. Finally, climate and environmental issues were also on the agenda. The state visit continued in Zurich on Friday, 20 May.

Address by President Ignazio Cassis

Address by the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová (PDF, 3 Pages, 94.5 kB, English)

06.05.2022 – Swiss president meets with Pope and Swiss Guard

Ignazio Cassis with the Swiss Guard.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard is a symbol of the historic ties between Switzerland and the Holy See. © FDFA

In Rome for the swearing-in of the new Swiss Guard, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis met today with Pope Francis and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states. The talks focused on the historic bilateral relations between the two states, which have recently been further strengthened by the Federal Council's decision to establish a new Swiss embassy to the Holy See.

Ignazio Cassis with Pope Francis and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
The historical bilateral relations between the two countries were the focus of talks with Pope Francis and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. © Vatican Media

International issues, such as the war in Ukraine and Europe's security architecture, were also raised during the discussions. Last November, on the occasion of Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin's visit to Switzerland, the two states signed a declaration with the aim of strengthening their joint commitment and cooperation in the bilateral and multilateral spheres to promote peace and human rights in the world. A commitment reaffirmed today by the two states "which share the values of dialogue and peace," said Cassis.

La sede dell’ambasciata presso la Santa Sede.
The embassy is expected to be operational in the coming months. © FDFA

On the margins of his visit to the Vatican, Mr Cassis also presented the premises that will house the Swiss embassy to the Holy See and officially launched the work.

Press release

05.05.2022 – Two meetings in St Gallen

Ignazio Cassis gives his speech at the St Gallen Symposium.
"Collaborative Advantage' was the topic of this year's symposium. © FDFA

The President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis participated in the annual St Gallen Symposium. His speech, which is available on this page, dealt with current events in Ukraine and Switzerland's policy of neutrality.

Speech by the President of the Swiss Confederation

Ignazio Cassis also participated in the pilot meeting of the Lake Constance intergovernmental commission. Già nel mese di gennaio, the German, Austrian, Liechtenstein and Swiss representatives of the cantons and federal states that are a part of the International Lake Constance Conference (IBK) met on Mount Säntis where they stressed the need to create an intergovernmental commission to strengthen the dialogue between the Conference and national governments. The FDFA supported the initiative and was involved in organising the pilot project, in close cooperation with the foreign ministries of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.

05.05.2022 – Without peace it is impossible to secure human rights

5 May is Europe Day – in memory of the founding of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949, when Europe laid ruins. Since then, the Council of Europe has promoted human rights, the rule of law and democracy. In the face of war, these values are of particular importance, writes President Ignazio Cassis in his message for this year's Europe Day.

Message from President Ignazio Cassis on the occasion of Europe Day

29.04.202 – Zurich – Lugano – Milano: a sustainable innovation journey

A young man shows Ignazio Cassis how a machine works.
The focus of the Innovation Day was on networking and cooperation between the regions and the innovation centres beyond national borders. © FDFA

President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis launched 29. April 2022 the first Innovation Day with a multi-stage programme.

Pursuing the axis of Zurich, Ticino and Milan, he visited Innovation Park in Dübendorf and Tecnopolo Ticino in Manno. At the end of the trip, the president was received at House of Switzerland Milano for its inauguration. The evening at the House also included a panel discussion on the future of innovation. The panel was co-organised with Milano Innovation District (MIND), Lombardy's new innovation park, which is located on the former site of Expo 2015 in Milan.

In Milan the President of the Swiss Confederation had an exchange with Italy's foreign minister, Luigi di Maio, and minister for technological innovation, Vittorio Colao. With Italian foreign minister the talks focused on global affairs, in particular the war in Ukraine. With innovation minister he discussed the two countries' strategies for digital transformation and the implications for global governance. 

Press release

28.04.2022 – Switzerland and the UK deepen partnership

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and Prime Minister Boris Johnson stand on a red carpet in front of the entrance to the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street and shake hands.
President Cassis meets British Prime Minister Johnson in London for bilateral talks. © FDFA

On Thursday, 28 April, President Ignazio Cassis met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss in London. Switzerland and the United Kingdom signed a joint declaration on the further development of their bilateral partnership and agreed to deepen cooperation in the field of science. They confirmed the launch of exploratory talks to modernise the existing trade agreement. Key topics of discussion included Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its consequences, as well as Switzerland's and the UK's relations with the European Union.

President Cassis stands between his wife Paola Rodoni Cassis and Queen Elizabeth II.
President Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola Rodoni Cassis were received by Queen Elizabeth II for a courtesy visit. © FDFA

President Cassis was also invited to pay a courtesy visit to Queen Elizabeth II.

Press release

22.04.2022 – Economy and science at the centre of the Presidential trip to Japan

Fumio Kishida and Ignazio Cassis shake hands. The flags of Japan and Switzerland can be seen in the background.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis spoke about the war in Ukraine and economic and scientific cooperation between Switzerland and Japan. © FDFA

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, visited Japan from 18 to 22 April, accompanied by an economic and scientific delegation. His trip took place in three stages. First he went to Tokyo, then to Osaka and finally to Kyoto.

In Tokyo, the President of the Confederation met with the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi. While the discussions focused on Ukraine and the resulting challenges for security policy in Europe and Asia, the talks also addressed the role of Switzerland and Japan in international organisations and cooperation in the fields of trade and science. President Ignazio Cassis and his interlocutors praised the good bilateral relations between the two countries, based on shared values.

President Cassis discusses global security and bilateral issues with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Hayashi, Press release, 18.04.22

After participating in an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, the President of the Confederation visited Osaka. The Swiss delegation attended the launch of the construction of the new Swiss Consulate. The consulate will also serve as an additional Swissnex location. The programme also included an exchange with the organisers of the Osaka 2025 World Expo, a visit to the Fugaku supercomputer and a meeting with the Swiss community in the Kansai metropolitan area.

President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis concluded his presidential trip with a speech on the relationship between science and diplomacy, which he delivered to students at Kyoto University on 21 April. In his speech, Ignazio Cassis spoke about how science diplomacy can help meet the challenges of the 21st century.

President Cassis rounds off visit to Japan with an address at Kyoto University, Press release, 21.04.22

11.04.2022 – President Cassis visits school in Agno

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, visited the Agno secondary school in the canton of Ticino, where he himself used to go to school. In the Aula Magna, he met about eighty fourth-graders who had recently visited the Federal Palace as part of the course on civil society and democracy. The pupils were able to ask Mr Cassis questions about the war in Ukraine, Swiss neutrality and his role as President of the Confederation and head of the FDFA. Ignazio Cassis encouraged the young people present to cultivate their curiosity and stick together across all differences, thinking especially of the new classmates from Ukraine who were welcomed to the school. «This is how we live the plurality that characterizes our country: by opening up to others, respecting them and asking them to respect us.»

11.04.2022 – Visit of Latvia’s President Egils Levits in Lugano

President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis and President Egils Levits of Latvia shake their hands at the Piazza Riforma in Lugano.
President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis met President Egils Levits of Latvia for official talks at the Piazza Riforma in Lugano. © Keystone, Pablo Gianinazzi

During their meeting in Lugano, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis and his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits discussed bilateral relations between Switzerland and Latvia, the war in Ukraine and European policy. Highlighting the common values that unite the two parties, Ignazio Cassis assured Latvia of Switzerland's commitment to stability, security and prosperity in Europe.

Afterwards, the two presidents visited the Museo Rainis e Aspazija, which commemorates the time spent in exile by the Latvian intellectuals in Switzerland at the start of the 20th century.

Press release

07.04.2022 – President Ignazio Cassis receives Croatian President Zoran Milanović in Geneva

President Ignazio Cassis and Croatian President Zoran Milanović in Geneva.
President Ignazio Cassis meets Croatian President Zoran Milanović in Geneva. © Keystone

President Ignazio Cassis met with Croatian President Zoran Milanović in Geneva on Thursday, 7 April. In addition to bilateral relations, the talks focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the situation in the Western Balkans and Switzerland’s European policy. The visit included a meeting with students from the University of Geneva.

The Croatian president was received in Geneva. This is in line with the Swiss president’s aim to receive foreign guests in different parts of Switzerland during his tenure – as a way to show the world how diverse a country Switzerland is, while at the same time making foreign policy tangible throughout Switzerland.

President Ignazio Cassis receives Croatian President Zoran Milanović, Press release, 07.04.2022

04.04.2022 – Meeting with the Olympic and Paralympic Delegation in Bern

President Ignazio Cassis and Federal Councillor Viola Amherd with about 20 athletes inside the Parliament building.
President Ignazio Cassis and Federal Councillor Viola Amherd took part in the meeting with the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. © VBS/DDPS, André Scheidegger

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, welcomed the athletes who represented Switzerland and stood on the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing in February. He took this opportunity to express his thoughts on the difficult situation facing the Ukrainian population. The President stressed the strong bond that sport creates, creating unity beyond differences: "Sport contributes to our collective identity, especially in a country as diverse as ours, characterised by plurality”.

Sixteen medals were won by representatives from all the language regions. The President of the Swiss Confederation concluded his multilingual speech with a special thank-you to all sportsmen and sportswomen, not just those present in the hall: "Sport is work, ambition and a lot of humanity. This is exactly what we need, especially in these unusual times.

Speech of the President of the Swiss Confederation (de)

Speech in romansh (PDF, 3 Pages, 105.8 kB)

31.03.2022 – President Cassis opens the newly created "International Cooperation Forum”

President Ignazio Cassis has opened the International Cooperation Forum 2022 in Geneva. Over two days, around 1,600 people from many sectors will work together to find new solutions to the problems caused by climate change and challenges facing international cooperation. The hybrid forum was launched by the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and will take place annually.

'Together different' is the motto of the IC Forum 2022. From Thursday to Friday it will seek answers to the urgent questions facing international cooperation in view of climate change. The Forum will also address the current challenges posed by the Ukraine crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Forum will encourage new forms of cooperation and make use of collective intelligence. Together, governments, international organisations, academia, business and civil society must meet these challenges in innovative ways – 'together different' is the way forward.

At the International Cooperation Forum 2022, awards were also given to young people who submitted innovative projects for sustainable development and poverty reduction as part of the youth competition "Together we're better".

Press release: Working together to seek solutions to the challenges of climate change

Opening address by Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation

Article: First International Cooperation Forum Switzerland

Article: 2030 Agenda youth competition: 60 new ideas for sustainable development

13.03.2022 – Tribute to victims of the Sierre accident

The president of the Confederation Cassis stands behind a wreath of flowers carried by two policemen.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled today at the memorial site on the shores of Lake Géronde. © Keystone

Around 150 relatives and friends of the victims of the tragic coach accident in Sierre took part in a commemoration ceremony today alongside the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, and official representatives from Belgium, the Netherlands and the Canton of Valais. 

The tragic accident, which occurred ten years ago, cost the lives of 28 people, including 22 Belgian and Dutch children.

On the margins of the commemoration ceremony, Mr Cassis and Belgian Prime Minister Mr De Croo also held a bilateral meeting.

Press release

09.03.2022 – Visit of Hungary’s President Áder in Neuhausen

Ignazio Cassis speaks with the Hungarian President.
Hungary and Switzerland have a long tradition of bilateral exchange. © FDFA

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, received Hungarian President János Áder in Neuhausen in the canton of Schaffhausen for a working visit. The main topic of the exchange was the Russian military attack against Ukraine. Switzerland's European policy.

Press release

06.03.2022 – Illness Awareness Day: President Cassis calls for people to be able to decide how to live their own lives – for people who are sick as well as people in wars

In his speech marking Illness Awareness Day, Mr Cassis highlighted the importance of being able to decide how to live one's own life and with dignity. This means "drawing strength from our own resources – no matter how big or small they may be. This is what gives our lives meaning," he said, echoing the motto of this year's Illness Awareness Day 'Live Your Life'.

But the call to 'Live Your Life' is a constant challenge, because unforeseen events can turn our lives upside down from one day to the next  – an accident, an illness or even war, which is why his thoughts were also with the people of Ukraine. He went on to stress the importance of standing by people and not letting them face such difficult situations alone.

Mr Cassis therefore urged us on this year's Illness Awareness Day to think of those people who are trying to live their best lives, despite the challenges facing them. "Let's help each other bring the motto 'Live Your Life' to life."

Illness Awareness Day takes place every year on the first Sunday in March with the goal of informing people about a particular topic on health and disease. It also aims to foster connections between sick and healthy people, to create understanding for sick people's needs, and to remind healthy people of their obligations towards the sick.

21.02.2022 – Second edition of the Emna rumantscha

The Swiss president, Ignazio Cassis has invited a group of secondary school pupils from Scuol and Savognin to Bern to inaugurate the second edition of the Romansh Language Week (Emna rumantscha) together with Jon Domenic Parolini, member of the Cantonal Council of Graubünden. The school delegation has arrived with a suitcase full of ideas for promoting the Romansh language and culture in Switzerland and for making them known abroad.

A suitcase of Romansh ideas delivered to the Federal Palace, article

 

09.02.2022 – President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis on official visit to Niger

President Cassis and the Nigerien President Bazoum walk up a flight of stairs.
Federal President Ignazio Cassis met with Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum on 7 February. © FDFA

Deepening bilateral relations, international cooperation and Switzerland's partnership with the ICRC: these were the key focus areas of Ignazio Cassis's visit to Niger from 7 to 9 February. In the most recent presidential elections in 2021, the country experienced its first democratic transfer of power since independence.

Mr Cassis acknowledged this development during his exchange with Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum and other members of the government. Speaking in Niamey, Cassis said "The stability and development of the Sahel region is also in Switzerland's interest." He went on to say that the Sahel is a priority region of Switzerland's Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24 and Switzerland is therefore expanding its relations with these countries, including Niger.

"Protecting the most vulnerable is key for Switzerland", Article

Niger – President Cassis deepens bilateral relations and pays tribute to ICRC partnership, Press release, 09.02.2022

29.01.2022 – 150th anniversary of the internment of the Bourbaki army

Ignazio Cassis took part in the parade in Les Verrières in memory of the internment of the French army named after General Bourbaki 150 years ago. In 1871, Switzerland had taken in almost 90`000 French soldiers and officers who had been encircled by German troops in the French Jura. The French soldiers were welcomed by the Swiss population and received help after handing over weapons, ammunition and material at the border.

In his address, President Cassis recalled that the number of soldiers taken in had represented almost three per cent of the population in Switzerland at the time. "Life was hard for everyone back then. People struggled for food and to survive. But the people in that region - as well as the authorities - downgraded their needs to help others. A spirit of solidarity prevailed." The internment was also one of the first humanitarian actions for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), founded in 1863, President Cassis said.

He stressed that peace had reigned in Europe for 80 years. This goes back to the unification of Europe after the Second World War. "Today, when we deal with the vagaries of current politics, we must not forget the goal that stood at the beginning of the European Union: never again war on European soil!"

Speech

27.01.2022 - International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In his message on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis referred to his recent meeting in Ticino with Fishel Rabinowicz, one of the last Holocaust survivors living in Switzerland. Born in Poland in 1924, he was deported in 1941 and spent almost four years in a number of different labour and concentration camps. A few sequences of the meeting are shown in a video.

Ignazio Cassis meets Fishel Rabinowicz

21.01.2022 – President Cassis on the Albisgüetli

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, attended the 34th Albisgüetli Conference of the SVP Zurich in Zurich. In his speech, he spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and European policy. In doing so, he emphasised that the Federal Council still wants regulated and stable relations with the EU. "They are far too valuable for us to simply question them. Do not forget: we are also talking about a daily exchange of goods worth a billion francs."

Speech

21.01.2022 – President Cassis talks with foreign ministers of Russia and the USA about the security situation in Europe

President Cassis in conversation shaking hands with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.
In addition to the security situation in Europe, President Cassis also addressed human rights issues during his talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov... © Keystone

On the occasion of the US-Russia meeting in Geneva, the President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the FDFA, Ignazio Cassis, met separately with the two Foreign Ministers, Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov, on Friday, 21 January 2022. The talks focused on security in Europe and the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

President Cassis and Foreign Minister Blinken sit across from each other at a table and talk.
…and with Foreign Minister Blinken he also discussed bilateral issues as well as relations with Iran. © Keystone

Switzerland is concerned about the increasing tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border. President Cassis made clear that Switzerland offers its good offices when they are considered useful and are requested. In addition, the OSCE should play a central role as a platform for dialogue as well as with its confidence- and security-building measures.

Press release

21.01.2022 – COVID-19: President Cassis visits the Regional Hospital of Lugano

"This visit has allowed me to talk to the people on the front line of our fight against COVID-19. In addition, I was able to witness the situation at the hospital," said Ignazio Cassis during his reception at the Regional Hospital of Lugano. Accompanied by the Director of the Department of Health and Social Affairs of the Canton of Ticino, Raffaele De Rosa, and the cantonal doctor, Giorgio Merlani, Ignazio Cassis spoke with hospital management as well as with doctors and nurses.

20.01.2022 – Meeting in Berlin

The President of the Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, meets German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The President of the Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, meets German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. © Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung, Fotograf Jesco Denzel

President Ignazio Cassis met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Berlin. The talks focused on the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries, and on current challenges in Europe and worldwide.

Press release

President Cassis is greeted by Chancellor Scholz.
President Cassis and German President Steinmeier stand side by side and look at members of the formation of honour. © Bundesregierung / Bergmann

20.01.2022 – Online event in the run-up to the Ukraine Reform Conference (URC2022)

At an online event on 20 January, in preparation for the fifth Ukraine Reform Conference (URC) to be held in Lugano this summer, President Ignazio Cassis and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy set out their expectations for the conference.

«As the host of the Ukraine Reform Conference, Switzerland can contribute to stability and prosperity in Europe. As a longstanding partner of Ukraine, I am pleased that we have an opportunity to support the country on its path to reform,» stated President Cassis. «The direct exchanges between the Ukrainian authorities and investors at this online event should provide an opportunity to discuss mutual expectations and common goals.»

Issues covered during the panel discussion included economic relations, economic policy reforms and Ukraine's statutory framework for investment. The international community intends to support these reforms.

Press release

14.01.2022 – 50th anniversary of International Lake Constance Conference

President Cassis with Liechtenstein’s prime minister Risch on Säntis
President Cassis with Liechtenstein’s prime minister Risch on Säntis. © Erich Brassel

On Friday, 14 January, the German, Austrian, Liechtenstein and Swiss representatives of the cantons and federal states that are a part of the International Lake Constance Conference (IBK) met on Mount Säntis to celebrate the Conference's 50th anniversary. President Ignazio Cassis also attended the event. The aim of the IBK is to promote cross-border cooperation in the Lake Constance area and to strengthen relations between the four neighbouring countries and regions near the border.

President Cassis also took the opportunity to meet with Liechtenstein’s prime minister, Daniel Risch, on the fringes of the conference.

Press release

Address by Ignazio Cassis, President of the Confederation (DE)

13.01.2022 – First traditional visit to Vienna

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, travelled to Vienna for his first official visit. There he was received by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor Karl Nehammer and the president of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka. The trip to Vienna marks a decades-old tradition of each new Swiss and Austrian president making their first trip abroad to each other’s country, a sign of the friendly relationship between Switzerland and Austria.

Following the bilateral meeting, Mr Cassis met the Polish foreign minister and new OSCE chair, Zbigniew Rau, as well as the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Helga Schmid. Mr Cassis presented the Swiss 2022–2025 OSCE Action Plan.

President Cassis on first visit to Vienna

Switzerland presents action plan for a more effective OSCE by 2025

12.01.2022 – New Year's reception of the diplomatic corps

President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis welcomed the representatives of the diplomatic corps in Switzerland at the traditional New Year's reception at the Federal Palace.

Speeches, pictures and an interview with Ambassador Beatrice Schaer, who is responsible for the protocol, are available on the website dedicated to the event.

New Year's reception of the diplomatic corps

01.01.2022 – New Year's address

"The Federal Council is listening to all of you, regardless of the language in which you speak, no matter where you live. This plurality is Switzerland's strength!". With these words Ignazio Cassis addresses the nation on the eve of the New Year. In his speech, the President of the Swiss Confederation takes the people on a journey along the rails that run through Switzerland, reach all the language regions and unite the country.

31.12.2021 – New Federal Council photograph

View from above of the members of the Federal Council standing on a map of Switzerland.
The Federal Council photo 2022. © Stefano Spinelli

Every year, a new photo with the seven federal councillors and the chancellor gets published. In 2022, the president of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, acts as art director. 

Seven federal councillors, several cantons of origin, one Switzerland. "Like the members of the Federal Council, all Swiss citizen are diverse in term of origin, language, culture or mindset. Yet together we make up Switzerland", explains Ignazio Cassis, who illustrates this in a short video.

The concept behind this shot explained by the newly elected president.

Behind the scenes

A look behind the scenes: making of the Federal Council photo 2022.

08.12.2021 – Election as President of the Swiss Confederation

The Federal Assembly elected Ignazio Cassis President of the Swiss Confederation for the year 2022 by 156 votes. Federal Councillor Alain Berset will accompany him as vice-president.

The election day of the President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis in pictures

Speech by the President of the Swiss Confederation (Original Version)

Press conference

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