Federal Council clarifies consultation procedure with Parliament on foreign policy

Press release, 06.07.2016

The Federal Council has clarified how in future it will consult Parliament on foreign policy in order to take into account the latter's concern to be more closely involved in this policy area.

The Parliament Act  stipulates that the Federal Council must consult the parliamentary committees responsible for foreign policy on 'fundamental objectives' of foreign policy.  The Federal Council has now defined more precisely when objectives are fundamental in an amendment to the Ordinance on the Organisation of the Government and the Federal Administration.

The Parliament Act defines fundamental objectives as recommendations or decisions of international organisations or multilateral bodies that require a substantial amendment to a federal law or treaty, or those that could entail serious disadvantages for Switzerland if the recommendations or decisions in question are not implemented. 

This clarification takes into account Parliament's concern to be more closely involved in international soft-law procedures. Parliament's concern was expressed in the context of the preliminary examination of two Parliamentary initiatives (14.433 n Pa. Iv. Aeschi and 14.474 n Pa. Iv. Romano).   

'Soft Law' refers to recommendations by international bodies that although not binding in international law can nevertheless require amendments to domestic law or bring about fundamental changes in international standards. The amendment to the ordinance takes effect on 1 August 2016.

Government and Administration Organisation Ordinance (RVOV/GAOO) (de) (This text is provisional. Only the version published in the Federal Gazette is binding)(pdf, 39kb)

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