The director of the DEA

A portrait picture of Livia Leu
Livia Leu is chief negotiator for negotiations with the EU since 14 October 2020. © JC Marmara

State Secretary Livia Leu is the head of the Directorate for European Affairs (DEA) since 14 October 2020. She is also chief negotiator for negotiations with the European Union. 

Born in 1961 in Zurich, Livia Leu studied at the universities of Lausanne and Zurich. She qualified with a law degree and is licensed to practice law. After joining the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in 1989, she completed her diplomatic service training in Bern, Paris and Geneva.

In May 1991, she was posted to the FDFA's head office as a diplomatic officer in the UN section of the former Directorate for International Organisations. Livia Leu joined the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York in 1994. She was transferred to Cairo as deputy head of mission in 1998, and returned to Bern in 2002 to serve as deputy head of the Political Affairs Division II (Americas).

After a year-long sabbatical for educational purposes, in 2004 Leu became the deputy head of Political Division II (Africa/Middle East, covering the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Iran) and from 2006 headed Political Division II, Africa/Middle East, with the title of ambassador.

From 2009 to 2013, Leu was head of mission in Tehran before being appointed as the Federal Council's delegate for trade agreements (with the title of ambassador) in August 2013. In this capacity, she headed the Bilateral Economic Relations Division and sat on the senior management board of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) in Bern.

Leu was subsequently appointed as the Swiss ambassador to France and Monaco, a post she held from 1 September 2018 until 14 October 2020, when the Federal Council made her the chief negotiator for the negotiations with the EU (with the title of State Secretary) and head of the Directorate for European Affairs.