Posts Tagged ‘Bundesrat’
August 1st, 2011 – National Day message to the Swiss abroad by Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Confederation
For many of you our national day is a moment to take stock and to reflect. Wherever you may be on 1 August, you uphold the traditions of our country and confirm your attachment to Switzerland. This is why this is a very special day. Pride, love of your country, perhaps even homesickness: all these feelings may be experienced on 1 August. Take advantage of the opportunity and forget about your Helvetic modesty for a short while!
I would like to assure you that your love of Switzerland is reciprocated. Just as you feel attached to our country, Switzerland also cares about you, not only on 1 August but throughout the year. It is often said that the Swiss Abroad are ambassadors for Switzerland abroad. But in my view they are more than that. They embody our country’s attachment to the wider world. Thanks to you, the citizens of your host country learn more about our country. And if one day you come back to Switzerland to live, our economy will benefit from the experience that you have gained abroad. I would like to thank you for this contribution to our country’s prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen
You all know that Switzerland has always depended on exchanges and trade with other countries. But in recent years our interconnectedness with the world has grown even stronger. You as members of the Swiss Abroad are the living proof of this.
A period of time spent abroad is almost a standard experience for many Swiss citizens. The ‘fifth Switzerland’ is extremely diverse. It includes pensioners in Spain, students in Germany, bankers in Singapore and development helpers in Tanzania. But I am also thinking of the growing number of persons with dual nationality, who in many cases facilitate our relations with their host countries. Their openness, their interest in people throughout the world and their adaptability are key qualities on the path to success.
The qualities that help you in your daily life have also helped Switzerland. Openness and adaptability have enabled our country to cope relatively well with the economic crisis of recent years. Today in many respects we are better off than other countries. But this also imposes an obligation: the obligation to show solidarity. Switzerland has again and again demonstrated its solidarity, even in the most recent past example of the deployment of Humanitarian Aid after the atomic disaster in Japan, or of Switzerland’s activity in connection with the upheavals in North Africa and in the Near East. I am proud of this Swiss solidarity.
Dear fellow countrymen and countrywomen,
On behalf of the Federal Council I sincerely wish you a happy 1 August.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let us take a moment on our Swiss National Day to look back and reflect on Switzerland’s values and qualities.
On the first of August, Swiss nationals celebrate traditions and customs, and they feel the bond with their country whether they are at home or abroad. All this makes our Swiss National Day a special occasion.
Dear Swiss Abroad, you have come together today because of the close and genuine ties you have to your homeland. You, the 700,000 or so Swiss citizens abroad, work hard for the good of our country. In your host country, you represent the virtues to which Switzerland owes its good reputation. You embody the open mindset that has always served Switzerland well. You are an important calling card for our country. You also hold a mirror up to us. You have the necessary distance to be able to provide us with direct and honest feedback about our actions. You are our eyes and ears,because many things look different or better from the outside or from a distance.
The last few months have been difficult for many countries, Switzerland included. The financial and economic crisis has forced us all to adopt extraordinary measures. By maintaining a sense of proportion and a certain calm, we have weathered this crisis. We have positioned ourselves well. Today Switzerland is well placed, even very well placed when compared internationally. Unemployment figures are also falling. This is encouraging and offers hope for the future.
It is nonetheless better to err on the side of caution as it is still too early to speak of a turnaround. And events in recent months have shown that pressure from abroad is unlikely to diminish. We must therefore stand firm, yet at the same time be prepared to be more flexible in areas in which we can improve our position.
It is all the more important to foster good international relations, which makes you all the more important as ambassadors for our country. This is where you support us directly.
I can promise you this: even when the pressure intensifies and we have to be hard but fair to stand up for our interests abroad, Switzerland will, as always, remain true to its values of openness, solidarity, reliability and freedom. With qualities and virtues such as these, we will also be well equipped to overcome future crises!
On behalf of the Federal Council, I wish you a very happy first of August.
Doris Leuthard, President of the Federal Council
Audio Message (English), including the traditional ringing of the President’s hometown church bells, announcing the official Message by President Leuthard.