Programme of members of the Federal Council attending the WEF Annual Meeting 2017
Bern, 13.01.2017 - Bern, 13.01.2017 - 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.
President Doris Leuthard, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), will open the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday, 17 January, together with Chinese President XI Jinping and Prof. Klaus Schwab.
Over the following days the president will speak with heads of government including Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, with whom she will take part in an SRF debate on Wednesday lunchtime on strengthening democracy, along with further guests. On Thursday evening, the president is expected to attend an Open Forum session on the subject of ‘Bridging Generational Differences', where the discussions will cover, among other things, ways of motivating young people to take part in the political process.
The topic of energy cooperation will be the focus of at least two meetings. The president will sign a joint declaration on the subject with Philippe Couillard, the premier of the Canadian province of Québec. A meeting is also planned with Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commissioner responsible for the Energy Union.
Numerous bilateral meetings have been arranged - including with the Columbian president, Juan Manuel Santos, the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and with the following heads of government: Aleksandar Vučić (Serbia), Giorgi Kvirikaschvili (Georgia), Ranil Wickremesinghe (Sri Lanka), Hun Sen (Cambodia), Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (Vietnam), Nawaz Sharif (Pakistan), and Youssef Chahed (Tunisia).
Federal Councillor Alain Berset, vice president of the Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, will meet with Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Single Market to discuss social and health policy aspects of digitalisation.
Meetings are also planned with Irina Bokova, the director general of UNESCO, the German health minister, Herman Gröhe, and the Canadian culture minister, Mélanie Joly. Federal Councillor Berset will also take part in a number of high-level discussion rounds on global challenges in the health system, such as the increasing resistance to antibiotics.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), has placed peace and security as his main priority during his time in Davos. In that regard, he will meet with Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif. During his talks with the Iranian foreign minister he will also discuss the protecting power mandate exercised by Switzerland between Iran and the United States during the US presidential transition period. In terms of Switzerland's relations with the EU, a meeting is planned with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), will hold talks in Davos with the German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, about military training cooperation and current security issues. On Thursday, Mr Parmelin also plans to visit a field medical facility run by the armed forces to assist the Canton of Graubünden.
Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, head of the Federal Finance Department (FDF), will hold numerous meetings during the WEF Annual Meeting with counterparts from various countries, as well as with representatives from international bodies.
Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will hold talks in Davos on efforts to conclude EFTA free trade agreements with India, Malaysia and Vietnam; in that regard he will meet with the trade and industry ministers of those countries, Nirmala Sitharaman, Mustapa Mohamed and Trần Tuấn Anh.
Mr Schneider-Ammann, his partners from EFTA and representatives from the MERCOSUR states of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay will sign a joint declaration. This will announce the end of exploratory talks on a free trade agreement between EFTA and MERCOSUR. Talks with Frans Timmermanns, vice president of the European Commission, and European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, will cover relations between Switzerland and the EU as well as research and economic policy issues.
Bilateral economic relations will be the focal point of talks with the Russian economic development minister, Maksim Oreshkin, the French economy and finance minister, Michel Sapin, and New Zealand's trade minister, Todd McClay. On Friday, Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann will host the traditional informal WTO ministerial meeting, with around 30 participants, which will work towards concrete results at the upcoming 11th ministerial conference in Buenos Aires in December.
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.
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