As the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann is one of the seven members of the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive body.
The EAER comprises two state secretariats, three federal offices and a number of other agencies. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the federal government’s centre of expertise for all core issues relating to the economy and trade policy. As the head of the EAER, President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann is responsible for ensuring that Switzerland is optimally positioned in its foreign economic policy. On a multilateral level, our involvement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a major focus. Additionally, Switzerland secures its interests through free trade agreements. On a national level, the EAER puts in place a regulatory framework and creates economic policy conditions that provide promising prospects for Swiss businesses and foreign companies in Switzerland. Another main aim is to establish a fertile environment for job creation through flexible labour market conditions. One of the priorities in this area is to facilitate labour market access for young people, women and older employees in particular.
EAER head Johann N. Schneider-Ammann is also in charge of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The three areas managed by this Secretariat – education, research and innovation – are of central importance to our society and Switzerland’s economic performance. Working in close cooperation with the cantons and, in part, with the private sector, the education system is designed on all levels to ensure there are no ‘dead-end qualifications’ and that different needs in vocational education, universities of applied sciences, cantonal universities and the ETH Domain are met. International cooperation in research programmes, as well as the Swiss Space Office – which is an important partner for industry – are also essential.
Additionally, the Federal Office for Agriculture is also part of the EAER. The 2014-2017 agricultural policy Johann N. Schneider-Ammann is pursuing has set four priorities: ensuring secure food production, optimising the use of resources, strengthening the vitality of rural areas and promoting entrepreneurship in the agriculture and food industries. Rounding off the wide array of tasks handled in this department are questions relating to national economic supply and housing which are handled by the relevant federal offices.
Before taking over as head of the EAER on 1 November 2010, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann was a member of the National Council for eleven years for the FDP.The Liberals, where he served on the Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee.
Federal councillor Schneider-Ammann was born in 1952 and has a degree in electrical engineering from the ETH Zurich. Before he became a member of the Federal Council, he was president and delegate of the Ammann Group. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann is married and has two adult children.