Federal Council approves loan to finance renovation of OTIF headquarters building in Bern

Bern, 22.02.2023 - On 22 February 2023 the Federal Council approved an interest-bearing loan of CHF 3.8 million for the Foundation for Buildings for International Organisations. The amount is earmarked for the renovation of the headquarters building of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) in Bern. The work will last two years (2024–25).

As host state, Switzerland is committed to the proper maintenance of the buildings of international organisations. It is in Switzerland's interests to support the OTIF project in order to ensure that it can operate in optimum working conditions and allow it to continue its activities in a building which is functional, safe and adapted to current standards. By offering the best possible conditions for international actors on its soil, Switzerland contributes significantly to the smooth functioning of international relations.

The project takes into account the long-term needs of OTIF

OTIF, which is based in Bern, aims to promote, improve and facilitate international rail traffic. To this end, it provides its 50 member states – including Switzerland – with a framework for cooperation in the railway sector, and works to establish uniform legal regimes in the field of railway law and to design and support compatibility and technical harmonisation systems.

The refurbishment of the building and its conference room will allow for closer links with member states' delegations and give the organisation greater visibility. By modernising the facilities and adapting them to meet current fire safety and environmental standards, and comply with disabled access regulations, the project takes into account the long-term needs of OTIF.

Subject to approval by Parliament, the CHF 3.8 million interest-bearing loan – which is repayable over 30 years – will allow the renovation work to begin in 2024. The Canton and the City of Bern are expected to contribute 1.6 million francs in equal parts.

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