Foreign Policy

As a small country in the heart of Europe, Switzerland uses its foreign policy to maintain close ties with the EU, especially with its direct neighbours. One of the main pillars of Swiss foreign policy is neutrality.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias sitting at a table for talks.
Switzerland has a long tradition of friendly relations with EU member states: meeting between the foreign ministers of Switzerland and Greece. © Keystone, Anthony Anex

Foreign policy serves to protect Swiss interests, as well as the independence, prosperity and security of the country.  It also serves to promote Swiss values: human rights, democracy, peace, the alleviation of poverty and hardship, and the protection of the environment.

Neutrality, which prohibits Switzerland from taking part in armed conflicts and joining military alliances, is a cornerstone of Swiss foreign policy. It is one of the fundamentals of International Geneva and underpins Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition and role as a mediator in crises and between conflicting parties.

As a non-member of the EU, but situated in the heart of Europe, Switzerland takes particular care to foster relations with its neighbours.  Its relationship with the EU is governed by a dense network of bilateral agreements concluded between 1999 and 2004.

Foreign Policy Strategy 2024–27

The Federal Council sets out Switzerland’s foreign policy priorities over a four-year period. The 2024–27 strategy focuses on:

  • Peace and security
  • Prosperity and competitiveness
  • The environment
  • Democracy and governance

There is also a main geographical focus on Europe. Additional priorities are other world regions and multilateralism.