Foreign policy strategy and implementation

Bundesplatz and the Federal Palace with a world map projected against the sky. (Symbolbild)
Goals and priorities defined by foreign policy strategy © Parliamentary Services

Switzerland's foreign policy is guided by the values and strengths of its domestic policy. The objective, as defined in the Federal Constitution, is to safeguard Switzerland's interests, independence, well-being and security. Through its foreign policy, Switzerland plays its part in alleviating need and poverty in the world, while promoting respect for human rights and democracy, and contributing to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and the conservation of natural resources.

Working on this basis, Switzerland is willing to take on responsibility and show solidarity with others. In doing so, it focuses its efforts primarily on areas where it can make a difference on account of its experience, networks, expertise and the array of instruments at its disposal.  In the interests of coherence and efficiency, the FDFA coordinates foreign policy with the other federal departments.

Switzerland is also committed to promoting dialogue and building bridges as part of its foreign policy.  Thanks to its neutrality, independence and humanitarian tradition, it is able to play a part in bringing peace and security to the world. Switzerland has extensive experience in mediation and assisting in conflict resolution efforts and its strength in offering good offices is recognised across the globe.

Good offices

Switzerland is committed to the rule of law, dialogue and a culture of compromise, co-determination and power sharing, humanitarian principles and the prevention of conflicts and extremism. It plays an active role in the fight against poverty and in protecting the environment, providing humanitarian aid, preventing and reducing disaster risks, and aiding reconstruction. It helps draw up international rules and standards for a just international order that fosters security and prosperity for all.

Development and cooperation

Humanitarian aid

Switzerland maintains relations with all countries wherever possible. It has close ties politically, economically and culturally with its European partners, as well as sharing fundamental democratic principles. Switzerland's most important trading partners are the EU and neighbouring countries. Given that it is not a member of the European Union or other major alliances or groups such as the G20, it also relies on a stable and open international environment.

Diplomacy

To maintain its diverse relations with other countries, Switzerland has a network of some 170 representations worldwide (embassies, consulates general and cooperation offices), which also provide a range of modern, citizen-oriented services for Swiss nationals abroad.

Swiss abroad

Switzerland promotes its image abroad through public outreach. Switzerland's communication abroad is intended to show the diversity and attractiveness of the country, raise general awareness and foster understanding for Switzerland and its interests.

Switzerland's communication abroad

Every four years, the Federal Council defines its foreign policy strategy, setting out the priorities for the practical implementation of these objectives.

Swiss Foreign Policy Strategy 2016–19

Foreign policy strategy

Focus and priorities of Swiss foreign policy for the current legislative period.

Involvement of the cantons in foreign policy

How the Confederation and the cantons work together to shape and implement foreign policy and its legal basis.

Diplomacy

Diplomats represent the interests of their own country in the host state. Approximately 170 countries have accredited an ambassador to Switzerland

Communication abroad

Public relations to promote Switzerland’s interests abroad