Bern, 1 February 2023
Swiss Federal Council approved the 2022 Foreign Policy Report at its meeting on 1 February 2023. The document includes a special focus on the war in Ukraine. It also discusses progress in relations with the EU, Switzerland’s commitment to more effective multilateralism, and its election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period 2023–24.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous climate disasters, 2022 was marked by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The offensive led to a serious energy crisis in Europe, food insecurity, debt and the return of inflation in many countries.
The war in Ukraine plunged Europe into a new era of instability and deeply influenced Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland repeatedly condemned the Russian aggression. The Federal Council supported EU sanctions, showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their suffering. Basing itself on its permanent neutrality, Switzerland advocated unreservedly for respect for international law and the UN Charter.
The Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano in July launched the political process of rebuilding the country. The Lugano Principles adopted on that occasion will serve as a common reference of values for the future of Ukraine. Switzerland was also active on the ground, providing humanitarian aid and strengthening its bilateral development cooperation for war-affected populations.
Swiss–EU relations: a key dossier in Swiss foreign policy
The renewal and long-term stabilisation of relations between Switzerland and the EU is a constant concern of the Federal Council. In February, it set out the orientation of a new negotiating package with the EU and reiterated its intention to pursue the bilateral path. This ‘package’ approach should ensure a better balance between both sides’ interests. Six rounds of exploratory talks were held during the year to clarify the existence of a common basis for the resumption of negotiations.
A non-legally binding memorandum of understanding on the second Swiss contribution to selected EU member st ates was signed in Brussels in June 2022. In December, at the request of Parliament, the Federal Council adopted a report entitled Assessment of Swiss–EU relations, subject to consultation with the foreign affairs committees of both chambers.
Support for multilateral bodies despite crisis of confidence
The year 2022 was also marked by a profound crisis of confidence in multilateral bodies and their ability to address global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pandemics. The Federal Council is convinced of the need to find global solutions to these challenges and of the essential role of international organisations in this respect. International Geneva is key to Switzerland’s commitment to promoting dialogue and cooperation for effective multilateralism. This commitment is reinforced by Switzerland’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2023–24 period.
Coherent foreign policy
Overall, further progress was made in implementing the foreign policy strategy in 2022. The Federal Council continued its efforts to provide a strategic framework for its relations with the major powers and key regions of its foreign policy. Following the China Strategy in 2021, the Federal Council adopted an Americas Strategy 2022–25. An annual strategic dialogue was also formalised with the United States at the state secretariat level.
In addition, the Federal Council adopted the Arms Control and Disarmament Strategy 2022–25. The FDFA also launched its OSCE Action Plan 2022–25 and Guidelines on Water 2022–25.
As every four years, the foreign policy report contains an annex on human rights diplomacy. With this report, the Federal Council is also responding to Postulate 20.4334 of the National Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the human rights dialogue with China.
Source – Swiss Government