Switzerland and the World

Switzerland takes a proactive approach in its foreign policy, working to bolster its relations with neighbouring countries and the EU, strengthen its global partnerships, and advance its mediation efforts for peace and security as well as its commitment to sustainable development and prosperity.

The UN building in Geneva with the flags of all the different countries.
Swiss neutrality has led numerous international organisations to base themselves in Switzerland, including the UN. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Switzerland's relations with the EU, particularly its neighbouring countries, plays a key role in Swiss foreign policy. Within this framework, Switzerland works at multilateral level to increase stability in Europe and throughout the world and to build on its strategic partnerships.

One of the pillars of Swiss foreign policy is neutrality. This means Switzerland may not take part in armed conflicts. In its capacity as a neutral country, Switzerland can mediate between conflicting parties and act as a host state. It also undertakes protecting power mandates for third countries that have broken off diplomatic relations.

Coupled with Switzerland's neutrality and humanitarian tradition, the founding of the Red Cross in Geneva has established the city as a global hub for hundreds of international organisations and NGOs.

Switzerland is also strongly committed to sustainable development aid and provides emergency relief during humanitarian disasters.

Switzerland and the World – Facts and Figures

Switzerland has more than 170 representations around the world and has a focus on the EU in its foreign policy, which is characterised by the country’s neutrality, humanitarian tradition and good offices.

Foreign Policy

Switzerland’s foreign policy strategies follow a four-year cycle and focus on representing both Swiss interests as well as its values, from democracy and human rights to environmental protection.


Switzerland’s neutrality dates back to the 16th century and is a key part of the country’s collective psyche.

Humanitarian Tradition

Switzerland provides aid for humanitarian disasters and long-term development in developing countries. It grants asylum to victims of persecution.

Switzerland’s Good Offices

Switzerland has helped resolve a number of international conflicts thanks to its good offices. It also carries out protecting power mandates for third countries who have broken off diplomatic relations.

International Organisations

Geneva is home to a number of international and non-governmental organisations, as well as the European headquarters of the UN. Switzerland is also a member of the UN and a number of international organisations.