The need for discussion has been established in a number of different areas of foreign policy: while in Europe, the European Union is becoming increasingly strong and important, from a global perspective the European continent is losing weight relative to other regions. In view of these shifts of global political and economic power, Switzerland is obliged, on the one hand, to intensify relations with its most important partner, the EU, a process that will also require the constant review of the body of law governing their bilateral relations, not least because of the current economic crisis. If the situation with regard to its interests so requires, the approach adopted by Switzerland in its European policy must be fundamentally adapted. On the other hand, Switzerland must continue to develop and consolidate new and strong connections outside the European continent.
Switzerland can only assert its own interests through the carefully targeted use of all its foreign policy instruments, such as dialogue, development co-operation, humanitarian aid, the promotion of peace and respect for human rights. These have stood the test of time and must be further expanded. In the long term, Switzerland can only maintain its influence and reputation in the international community if it actively participates in the search for solutions to global problems – all the more so as current crises and systemic risks are having an increasingly regional and worldwide impact. The current financial and economic crises, climate change, energy, health-care and other global issues clearly show that such problems are not confined to national borders and can only be overcome through stronger international co-operation.
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