President of the Swiss Confederation Johann N. Schneider-Ammann: 2016 National Day greetings to the Swiss Abroad

Position, 01.08.2016

President Johann N. Schneider-Amman's speech to the Swiss abroad on the Swiss national day

Dear Swiss Abroad,

I’d like to think that at this moment you are in a beautiful, remote natural setting or in a huge city.

You, too, may associate the first of August with many images, and possibly you are a little homesick. What we can say for sure is that the Swiss – wherever they are in the world – are today especially proud of their country. And Switzerland is proud of its citizens, near and far!

We are building on this attachment. However, you would be rightfully disappointed if we used Swiss National Day just to send greetings from the federal capital, Bern, to the Swiss Abroad.

The government has undertaken concrete measures over the past few years to tighten the bonds between the homeland and the Swiss community abroad.

The law on the Swiss Abroad came into force last November. For the first time, the most important aspects of relations between the government and the more than 750,000 Swiss abroad are regulated. From October, all concerns of the Swiss Abroad can be addressed to a point of contact. The government and cantons are also working towards making it possible for all voters to cast their ballots electronically. The Swiss Abroad have followed these developments with great interest and have encouraged us to continue on this path. I would like to thank you for your engagement.

It is important that you can take part in the decision-making process and that we hear your voices! You bring a point of view that often differs from that of your fellow citizens at home.

You have first-hand experience of other countries and their economies. We want to take advantage of this experience. ‘Together for jobs and our country’ is the presidential motto I’ve chosen for 2016. I want to address not only jobs in Switzerland but also those created in exchanges with Switzerland.

The new Gotthard Base Tunnel, which we opened at the beginning of June, facilitates travel within Switzerland and beyond our borders as well as the transport of goods. We’re proud of this monumental project that brings northern and southern Europe closer together.

Maybe you, dear Swiss Abroad, are also professionally engaged with Switzerland. You might be involved in a humanitarian deployment, or are retired and enjoying your well-earned pension somewhere in the sun. Perhaps your ancestors left Switzerland a long time ago.

However close your ties are to Switzerland, I’d like to thank you for fostering these ties along with us, together for our country. I wish you a happy first of August. Enjoy the celebration!