Swiss government agrees funding to renovate barracks of Pontifical Swiss Guard
Bern, 11.12.2020 - At its meeting on 11 December 2020, the Federal Council agreed funding for the project to renovate the barracks of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in the Vatican. This is a single contribution to improve the accommodation and facilities of the Swiss Guard. The decision coincides with the centenary of Switzerland's resumption of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard has been protecting the Pope and contributing to Switzerland's public image around the world since 1506. At home, the Swiss Guard enjoys widespread support among Swiss authorities and people regardless of faith community. The Federal Council agreed today to strengthen ties with the Swiss Guard by providing CHF 5 million in funding for the renovation of the barracks in the Vatican. The total cost of the project is CHF 55 million.
The barracks have only undergone partial renovations since their construction in the early 19th century. The accommodation and facilities no longer meet current standards in terms of comfort or sustainability. The renovations will also meet the needs of additional personnel, since the number of guards is being increased from 110 to 135. The work will be entrusted to Swiss architectural and engineering firms.
The Confederation's contribution will be allocated to the Foundation for the Renovation of the barracks of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, a Swiss charity entrusted with raising the funds for the project and subject to the supervision of the federal and cantonal (Solothurn) supervisory boards for foundations.
Centenary of the resumption of diplomatic relations
2020 marks the centenary of the resumption of official relations between the Swiss Confederation and the Holy See. When relations broke down during the Kulturkampf between 1873 and 1920, the Swiss Guard continued to fulfil its mandate to protect the Pope and has thus connected Switzerland and the Vatican for over 500 years. In addition to their ties through the Swiss Guard, Switzerland and the Vatican share the aim of promoting peace in the world through their bilateral relations.
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