Programme of members of the Federal Council attending the WEF Annual Meeting 2016

Bern, 19.01.2016 - The Federal Council considers the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to be of great importance for Davos and for Switzerland. Each year, this event brings together leading figures from business and politics for informal exchanges. In view of the current economic and political challenges, the opportunity for such direct contact among decision-makers is extremely valuable.

Six members of the Federal Council will be holding meetings in Davos; as many as 60 bilateral meetings are likely to take place. Roughly half of the meetings will be with European partners - be it the European Commission, EU member states or other European countries outside the EU.

President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER, will open the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday, 20 January, together with Prof. Klaus Schwab.

Over the next few days, President Schneider-Ammann will meet the presidents of Argentina and Mexico, Mauricio Macri and Enrique Peña Nieto. He will also hold talks with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who took up office in November last year. One of the topics on the agenda during the talks with these American heads of state and government will be free trade.

Relations between Switzerland and the EU are high up on the agenda. President Schneider-Ammann will meet with the first vice president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, and the French prime minister, Manuel Valls. The main subject of talks with EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström will be the state of ongoing negotiations between the European Union and the United States on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); the main subject of the talks with Carlos Moedas, the EU commissioner for research, will be Horizon 2020, the EU's current research and innovation programme.

Bilateral meetings have also been arranged with numerous other leaders including the German president, Joachim Gauck, the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, the Mongolian president, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, the Chinese vice president, Li Yuanchao, the Georgian prime minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Tunisian prime minister, Habib Essid, and the prime minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

On Thursday lunchtime, the president, the UN Special Envoy for Education and former British prime minister Gordon Brown and other guests will take part in the SRF debate on ‘The future of education: lessons in uncertainty'. On Friday lunchtime the president is due to speak at an Open Forum debate entitled ‘Is the Swiss model under threat?'. Other speakers include the president of the ETH Zurich, Lino Guzella.

Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, vice president of the Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), will meet Maroš Šefčovič, the EU commissioner responsible for the Energy Union, the Russian vice prime minister, Yury Trutnev, and the premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard. Federal Councillor Leuthard will also attend a number of meetings of the Energy Summit and other WEF events on the environment and the internet.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif and the foreign ministers of neighbouring France, Italy and Austria, Laurent Fabius, Paolo Gentiloni and Sebastian Kurz. He will also hold bilateral talks with the new Polish foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, and the new Argentinian foreign minister, Susana Malcorra.

Federal Councillor Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, will be meeting Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU commissioner responsible for health and food safety, Herman Gröhe, the German health minister, Edith Schippers, the Dutch health minister, and Marisol Touraine, the French minister of social affairs, health and women's rights, to discuss reform projects and current health policy issues. Meetings are also planned with UNESCO director general, Irina Georgieva Bokova, and the deputy head of the Liechtenstein government, Thomas Zwiefelhofer.

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), is set to hold two bilateral meetings in Davos with the Austrian defence minister, Gerald Klug, and the US defence minister, Ashton Carter, to discuss civilian support operations by the armed forces and bilateral military training cooperation.

Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), will be discussing current financial and tax policy issues with his German and Italian counterparts, Wolfgang Schäuble and Pier Carlo Padoan. He will also meet representatives from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU.

The WEF Annual Meeting in Davos also provides numerous opportunities for further contacts and discussions; last-minute changes to the programme are therefore possible. The details listed above are therefore subject to change.

Address for enquiries

Thomas Abegglen, Federal Chancellery
079 713 20 43


The Federal Council

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