Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis meets with Ticino and Graubünden government representatives
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs – an Italian speaker from the canton of Ticino – met today with government representatives of the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Mr Cassis and members of the Council of State of the canton of Ticino and representatives of the government of Graubünden discussed, among other matters, the current coronavirus situation, cross-border relations, relations with the EU, and the promotion of multilingualism and the language and culture of Switzerland's Italian-speaking population.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis during talks with Ticino and Graubünden government representatives. © Repubblica e Cantone Ticino
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis maintains a regular political dialogue with the cantonal governments of Ticino and Graubünden. Their last meeting was held on 30 March 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Today's meeting in Bellinzona was an opportunity to address other issues of mutual interest that concern the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, in particular the promotion of multilingualism and the language and culture of Switzerland's Italian-speaking community. Federal Councillor Cassis underlined the efforts made by the FDFA to uphold the interests of minorities and to ensure fair linguistic representation in the Federal Administration and federal government-associated business.
Mr Cassis emphasised the need to never lower our guard in supporting multilingualism in Switzerland, which is not only essential for Switzerland's national cohesion but is also a valuable asset that sets Switzerland apart internationally and enhances the credibility of its good offices in multiple crises.
Coronavirus: the importance of federalism
Federal Councillor Cassis and the cantonal representatives also took stock of the health and economic impact of the coronavirus, particularly as winter is fast approaching. "The COVID-19 crisis has once again shown us the value of federalism and national cohesion, as well as cooperation with neighbouring countries," noted Cassis. He also briefed the cantonal government representatives on the status of Swiss relations with the EU, including in light of the result of Sunday's federal popular initiative 'For moderate immigration' (Limitation Initiative), which was rejected by Swiss voters as a whole but accepted by a majority of the electorate in Ticino. They also discussed relations with Italy, and in particular the progress made in recent months towards the conclusion of an agreement on the taxation of cross-border commuters. Other topics discussed included the use of hydroelectric power, the next Swiss Ambassadors' Conference, which will be held in Pontresina, and the Swiss School in Milan, which receives support from the cantons of Ticino and Graubünden.