Four focal points of President Leuthard’s bilateral talks in Davos

Press releases, 20.01.2017

Bern, Switzerland’s relations with the European Union (EU), international energy and climate policy, migration issues and current challenges in the field of peace and security: these were the focal points of President Doris Leuthard’s bilateral talks on the fringes of this year’s WEF Annual Meeting in Davos. The president held lengthy talks with over a dozen heads of state and government, and met Maroš Šefčovič, the vice president of the European Commission.

“International cooperation and dialogue help to eliminate inequality”, explained President Leuthard on Friday, 20 January, summing up her time in Davos.

During talks with the heads of government of a number of EU states – Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković – and with European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, the president clarified the decisions taken by Parliament and the Federal Council at the end of last year, and the aims of Switzerland’s policy on Europe. She noted that, following a period of uncertainty, there was now a need to push for a solution in the blocked dossiers.

At a meeting with Philippe Couillard, the premier of the Canadian province of Québec, the focus was on cooperation in the fields of energy and climate; a corresponding memorandum of understanding was signed between Switzerland and Québec.

Ms Leuthard also met with Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko and Azerbaijani President Ilham Alijew, as well as with the following heads of government: Aleksandar Vučić (Serbia), Giorgi Kvirikaschvili (Georgia), Ranil Wickremesinghe (Sri Lanka), Hun Sen (Cambodia), Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (Vietnam), Nawaz Sharif (Pakistan), Youssef Chahed (Tunisia) and Hailemariam Dessalegn (Ethiopia).

The president also took part in two public debates, an SRF discussion on ‘Strengthening democracy’, and one of a series of Open Forum events on ‘Bridging Generational Differences’. The Open Forum series on that topic aims to motivate young people to play a greater part in the political process. The president’s agenda also included two events on digitalisation.

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General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC