The global developments and challenges that the Federal Council dealt with in last year’s report have borne out. These include the shift in economic and political power towards Asia, the complexity and the interdependence of global crises, and the environmental changes affecting the whole world. Switzerland has responded to these trends: it has invested much time and effort as an active member of the international community and it has succeeded in further cementing its network of contacts. It has contributed to finding solutions to a number of ongoing challenges in various regions of the world, and in doing so further strengthened its foreign policy commitment that is founded on a comprehensive approach of safeguarding its interests and exercising its influence at both the bilateral and multilateral levels.
As a country that is geographically positioned in the middle of the European continent, Switzerland is inextricably linked with developments on the Continent. According to the 2010 Foreign Policy Report, Switzerland’s relations with non-European states are becoming increasingly important at the same time, however. This is attributable to changes in the global balance of power and the growing self-awareness and assertiveness of some emerging nations.
Most foreign policy problems nowadays are too vast for a state to deal with single-handedly. For this reason, states have to approach such challenges in coalition with others and together with the international community. The Report sets out both the challenges and the approaches Switzerland has adopted in its foreign policy to address them in a wide spectrum of areas including international financial and economic policy, human security, migration, and development cooperation.
One of the key challenges set out in the Report is to bring national self-determination into harmony with the need for international cooperation. For the Federal Council there is no contradiction between safeguarding national sovereignty and asserting influence at the international level: international cooperation is not synonymous with dependence and loss of sovereignty rather it is primarily an opportunity to act responsibly with regard to one’s own interests. It is therefore all the more important that Switzerland does its utmost to use its capacity to influence others, as the 2010 Foreign Policy Report states in its conclusion.
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