On 5 December, State Secretary for Economic Affairs Hélène Budliger Artieda and Poland’s Minister for Development Funds and Regional Policy Grzegorz Puda signed a bilateral agreement in Warsaw. The agreement implements the new Swiss-Polish cooperation programme, which is part of Switzerland’s second enlargement contribution to selected EU member states. The visit signals Switzerland's continued interest in strengthening its very good bilateral, and economic relations with Poland.
ESA’s new class of astronauts was presented on 23 November in Paris. Switzerland’s Marco Alain Sieber is one of them.
Following a recruitment campaign for a new class of astronauts launched in spring 2021, ESA announced the list of persons selected to become astronauts and, in the frame of a feasibility project, astronauts with a physical disability. This was the first call for applications for new astronauts since 2008.
The working visit to Madrid from 10 to 11 November focused on official meetings with First Vice President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, and with Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin also attended the 20th anniversary celebration of the Swiss Business Hub Spain.
On 10 November, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and UK Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, George Freeman, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in London on cooperation in research and innovation. The agreement is intended to further strengthen the two countries' partnership in these areas.
Switzerland supports the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) with USD 75 million. This decision was taken by the Federal Council on 26 October. PIDG mobilises private sector capital for the construction of sustainable basic infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia.
In connection with Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territory, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), approved on 12 October the addition of some 30 individuals and entities to Switzerland's sanctions list. The Federal Council was notified on the same day. The Swiss list is thus in line with that of the European Union (EU).
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin is in Mumbai and Delhi to meet key national and Swiss economic players in India, and hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. Discussions will focus on bilateral economic relations and negotiations on the EFTA-India Free Trade Agreement. A large economic and scientific delegation accompanies him on the visit, which provides an opportunity to deepen bilateral economic relations and reaffirm Switzerland's commitment to economic and scientific cooperation with India.
Physics professor Ursula Keller receives the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist for her ground-breaking work in short-time laser physics. The Swiss Science Prize Latsis goes to the legal and medical scholar Kerstin Noëlle Vokinger for her outstanding interdisciplinary research.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will visit South Africa from 5 to 8 July with a large delegation representing economic and scientific stakeholders. During the mission, he will sign a memorandum of understanding and meet with multiple government ministers.
In view of Russia’s ongoing military aggression in Ukraine, the Federal Council enacted further sanctions against Russia on 29 June. This implements the Federal Council's decision of 10 June to adopt the EU's latest package of sanctions. The measures come into force at 6pm on 29 June.
On 29 June, the Federal Council appointed Martin Ackermann as the new director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). Mr Ackermann (51), who is currently Professor for Microbial Systems Ecology at ETH Zurich and a group leader at Eawag, succeeds Janet Hering, who has reached the age of retirement. He will take up his new position on 1 January 2023.
The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva came to a successful close on 17 June. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the EAER, and SECO State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch led the Swiss delegation. The WTO ministers adopted decisions and declarations covering topics such as food security, the WTO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and harmful fisheries subsidies. In view of the current challenges facing the multilateral trading system, this result should be considered a success.
On 12 June, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin attended the opening event of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. The ministerial meeting will focus on the trade challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the looming food crisis, strengthening the rules-based trading system, and negotiations on harmful fisheries subsidies.
On 10 June the Federal Council took the decision to adopt new EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus. The relevant ordinances are currently being adapted. In addition, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) has imposed financial and travel sanctions on around 100 further persons.
On 3 June, the Federal Council took a decision on the matter of allowing Swiss war materiel to be transferred by third countries to Ukraine, and on the export of war materiel supplies in the form of individual parts and assembly packages to European defence companies. Based on the export criteria described in the War Materiel Act and the principle of equal treatment under the law of neutrality, Switzerland cannot approve requests to transfer Swiss-produced war materiel to Ukraine.
On 22 May, Federal Councillors Simonetta Sommaruga and Guy Parmelin met with German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck in Davos ahead of the WEF Annual Meeting. They discussed the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy supply. Both countries are working to rapidly reduce their dependence on Russian gas and to advance decarbonisation. In order to better manage any shortages, they have agreed to start negotiations on a solidarity agreement for mutual support.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and President of the Swiss National Bank Thomas Jordan today welcomed David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Switzerland joining the World Bank.
Switzerland is currently considered a non-associated third country in Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. On 4 May 2022, the Federal Council adopted extensive measures to bridge the gap arising from this situation. Swiss researchers participating in EU projects are funded directly by the federal government. In addition, transitional solutions are offered for calls for proposals currently inaccessible to Swiss participants.
On 4 May, the Federal Council announced the appointment of Helene Budliger Artieda as the new State Secretary for Economic Affairs. She will take up her position on 1 August, succeeding Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, who is stepping down at the end of July after around eleven years in the post.
In view of Russia’s ongoing military aggression in Ukraine, the Federal Council enacted further sanctions against Russia and Belarus on 27 April. This implements the Federal Council's decision of 13 April to adopt the EU's latest package of sanctions.
On 19 and 20 April, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, will hold talks on cooperation in the areas of research, innovation and vocational education and training in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. He will then travel on to Washington, where he will attend the World Bank's 2022 Spring Meetings in his capacity as Swiss Governor on 21 and 22 April.
On 13 April 2022 the Federal Department of Economic Affairs EAER modified the list of persons annexed to the ordinance on measures connected with the situation in Ukraine. 217 individuals and 18 entities have been added to annex 8. The measures come into force at 6 p.m. on 13 April 2022.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will inaugurate the Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) in Sofia on 11 April. During this visit, he will also hold talks on research, innovation and education in the context of Swiss-Bulgarian and Swiss-European cooperation.
In response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Federal Council took the decision on 25 March to adopt further sanctions against Russia, thereby implementing the Federal Council decision of 18 March to adopt the latest package of EU sanctions. The measures come into force at 11pm on 25 March.
On Tuesday, 22 March, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, the head of the EAER, held an hour-long meeting in Geneva with WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Among the topics addressed during the discussions were the impact of the war in Ukraine on the world trade system and the WTO, the state of progress on the key negotiation dossiers, and preparations for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference set to take place in Geneva in June.
18.03.2022 Ukraine: Adoption of further EU sanctions against Russia
On 18 March, the Federal Council took the decision to adopt the new EU sanctions against Russia. The Federal Department of Economic Affairs EAER had already amended Annex 8 of the Ordinance on Measures connected with the Situation in Ukraine on 16 March, thereby imposing the current EU sanctions on a further 197 individuals and 9 entities.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) today approved the sanctioning of over 200 further individuals and entities in connection with serious violations of international law by Russia in Ukraine. Switzerland’s list of sanctioned individuals and entities now fully mirrors that of the EU.
At the end of January, the Federal Council decided to seek participation in Copernicus, the EU's Earth observation programme, in the current 2021–2027 programme period. On 16 February, it instructed DETEC to initiate technical talks with the EU in cooperation with the DDPS, the FDFA, DETEC and the EAER.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin is to attend an informal meeting of EU ministers for work, employment and social affairs in Bordeaux on Tuesday, 14 February. The meeting will focus on the impact of digitalisation and climate change on the labour market.
In its latest economic survey of Switzerland, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) praises the country's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The Swiss economy and labour market have been resilient during the crisis up to now, writes the OECD.