The Arab Spring was one of the major events in 2011. The upheavals in north Africa and in the near East have created opportunities and challenges for the countries concerned and have led to regional shifts in power and changes in traditional alliances. This region is important for Switzerland for economic and financial, energy, security and migration policy reasons. To support the transition to stable democracy in the states concerned, Switzerland has considerably stepped up its activities. They focus on humanitarian aid, support for democratisation, economic development and cooperation in the area of migration.
The report also provides an overview of the geographical, multilateral and thematic priorities of Swiss foreign policy in 2011. As a country in the middle of the European continent, Switzerland is naturally closely linked to developments in Europe. The challenges that the European Union (EU) faces in the areas of debt and of migration also have an impact on Switzerland. Given the increasing integration efforts of the EU, Switzerland is obliged to keep close tabs on developments in the EU and to position itself accordingly. Last year it also cultivated and extended its close relations with neighbouring states and with the countries of Eastern Europe.
At the global level there has been an ongoing shift of economic and political power towards the emerging transition countries, especially in Asia. Against this background Switzerland has further intensified its relations with major non-European partner countries such as China, India and Japan, but also with the USA, Brazil and South Africa.
Given the increasing complexity and interdependence of global challenges, the importance of the role of multilateral organisations and bodies such as the UN, the G-20, the IMF and the OECD has increased further. Switzerland takes part in discussions on topics of global and regional interest in such forums and helps to find broadly consensual solutions for global challenges.
The report also lists the solutions that Swiss foreign policy has proposed in areas such as financial and economic policy, human security and migration, development cooperation, arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation policy, environment, transport, energy and health, education, research and innovation. In all these activities Switzerland acknowledges that most foreign policy problems today are global by their nature and can be tackled effectively only by means of the joint efforts of the international community.
Address for enquiries:
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47