Swiss foreign policy

Swissworld: Switzerland and the world

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As the world changes, Switzerland faces new challenges in formulating its foreign policy.

Switzerland has defined the following foreign policy objectives:

Peaceful coexistence of people of all nations
Switzerland wants to play an active role in the prevention of violent conflict. This includes the establishment of the rule of law, support for democratic norms and the promotion of dialogue.

Respect for and promotion of human rights
Respect for human rights is of utmost importance to Switzerland. Switzerland has long been an active campaigner for the cause of human rights.

Environmental sustainability
Switzerland is internationally active in promoting the development of an international system for protecting the environment. This includes agreements in the fields of climate, biological diversity and chemicals as well as the protection of water and forests.

Representing the interests of Swiss businesses abroad
The Swiss government wants to provide the best possible conditions for Swiss businesses. Measures include export promotion, support for research and training in Switzerland as well as the signing of multilateral and bilateral agreements with other states.

Alleviating need and poverty in the world
Switzerland places the fight against poverty at the centre of its development aid policy. It is continually increasing its financial assistance in this field. At the centre of its development aid policy is the promotion of income and employment, good governance, development of the private sector, sustainable use of natural resources, integration into the global trade system, debt relief, bridging the social gap, crisis prevention and crisis management.

The Swiss themselves have a somewhat contradictory attitude to foreign countries. On the one hand, the economy is very outward-looking, ordinary people travel a lot and many speak several languages. On the other, they have tended to keep aloof from close involvement in international bodies.

Reprinted with permission of © Presence Switzerland.

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