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.
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 2020–23
The Federal Council sets out Switzerland’s foreign policy priorities over a four-year period. The 2020–23 strategy focuses on:
- Peace and security
There is also a main geographical focus on Europe and the EU. Additional priorities are for the external network and communication activities.