Programme of members of the Federal Council attending the WEF Annual Meeting 2020

Bern, 17.01.2020 - At this the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Federal Council stresses the importance of the event in Davos. This year all members of the cabinet will be in attendance; around 60 bilateral meetings are due to take place. President Simonetta Sommaruga will open the event on Tuesday, 21 January, together with Professor Klaus Schwab.

The Swiss government expresses its thanks to the founder of the WEF, his entourage and staff, who have helped to make the Annual Meeting one of the world’s most important economic and socio-political gatherings.

President Simonetta Sommaruga will meet with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in Davos on Monday, 20 January, on the eve of the Annual Meeting. Federal councillors Ignazio Cassis and Karin Keller-Sutter will also be present at the meeting. A meeting with US President Donald Trump is set to take place on Tuesday, 21 January. The Swiss delegation will also include federal councillors Ueli Maurer, Guy Parmelin and Ignazio Cassis.

Numerous further bilateral talks have been scheduled – including with Columbian President Ivan Duque, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Talks are also scheduled with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng. Ms Sommaruga will also attend a number of other events dedicated to reconciling economic development and climate protection.

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Vice President of the Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will use the Annual Meeting in Davos to establish and foster bilateral and multilateral contacts. Bilateral meetings are due to take place with US Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Brazilian Economy Minister Paolo Guedes, India’s trade and industry minister, Piyush Goyal, Malaysian trade and industry minister, Ignatius Darell Leiking, French economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire, Russian economic development minister, Maxim Oreshkin, and others. Also on the agenda are meetings with EU innovation and youth commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, as well as with EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan. Multilateral meetings are planned with development bank presidents as is a WTO ministerial meeting.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Affairs (FDFA), will be addressing the links between technology and foreign policy during his meetings with representatives from the fields of politics, business and academia, and will expand on these themes at a number of further events. On Tuesday, Federal Councillor Cassis will speak on the subject of ‘How to Govern Digital Interdependence’ on Geneva Day, an event organised by the FDFA. He will also take part in an FDFA event on the theme of Tech4good. The event run by the SDC focuses on innovative approaches to addressing climate change in development cooperation through cooperation in science and technology. Greater inclusion of technology in foreign policy is one of the FDFA’s main goals for 2020.

Bilateral talks are due to take place with the foreign ministers of Italy, Finland, Hungary, South Africa and Iraq. A meeting is also planned with the prime ministers of the Palestinian Authority and of Poland. These talks will cover a range of issues in addition to bilateral relations and good offices. Talks with EU representatives will focus on European issues. In addition, he will sign an agreement with WEF Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, aimed at identifying new areas for cooperation.

Federal Councillor Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), will meet with health ministers Luiz Henrique Mandetta of Brazil and Bruno Bruins of the Netherlands. During the talks he will reiterate his call for international action to assure universal health coverage, even in emergency situations. He will also meet with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women. During those talks, the focus will be on gender equality policy and the next session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Mr Berset will also take part in an event together with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. They will address the need for reliable public health statistics to achieve the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter
, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), will hold various talks in Davos on topical issues in the fields of migration and security/terrorism. A number of bilateral meetings are also set to take place.

Federal Councillor Viola Amherd, head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), will be placing the emphasis on security policy, in particular on cyber defence, military peace support and on promoting women in security-related occupations. Talks are set to take place with German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on bilateral security policy cooperation and other matters. The head of the DDPS will also inspect troops on deployment at the WEF Annual Meeting.

Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), will hold talks at the Annual Meeting with fellow finance ministers from other states in line with previous years.

The WEF Annual Meeting 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.

House of Switzerland at WEF Annual Meeting 2020

Following the successful pilot project in 2019, the House of Switzerland will return to the WEF Annual Meeting 2020 and serve as a hub for the Swiss authorities at Davos ice rink. This year facilities have been expanded to include additional meeting rooms where federal councillors can hold bilateral talks, as well as providing additional event facilities.

Under the lead of Presence Switzerland, part of the FDFA, the House of Switzerland in Davos acts as a communication platform for Switzerland as the host country and as a venue for exchanges. The various thematic events due to be held there will bring together players from the fields of politics, business and academia to discuss possible solutions to global challenges. Topics range from technology in the service of sustainable development, cybersecurity in energy supply to sustainable nutrition and sustainable finance models. Six of the events are affiliated sessions, which form part of the official WEF programme. The EPFL will also be using the platform to put on an exhibition.

As well as hosting official meetings, the House of Switzerland will also serve as a venue for the Swiss delegation for informal exchanges with its international guests and partners, as well as with the media. The House will open its doors to the local population on Wednesday evening from 8pm. The WEF Annual Meeting has been bringing leading figures from around the world to Switzerland for fifty years. To mark the event’s 50th edition, the federal government commissioned an illustrated book entitled ‘Hosting the World’, tracing the history of the WEF. The book launch will take place on Tuesday evening when the House of Switzerland opens.

Address for enquiries

Serge Kuhn
Communications, Presidential Services Unit, Federal Chancellery
058 463 71 34


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