Government means more than looking ahead

Strategic planning and situation assessment are very important to the Federal Council. It also checks whether tasks are being fulfilled and objectives achieved. 

Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation, speaking to the National Council in 2018. Every year, the President presents Parliament with the annual goals of the Federal Council, and every four years, the Council’s legislative plans. (KEYSTONE)

Thinking about the future and setting the right course – that is a key task for any government. To fulfil it, the Federal Council must meet two separate requirements at the same time:

  • It develops strategies and plans on how to exploit social, technical and economic changes for Switzerland's benefit and how to minimise risks.
  • It must retain the freedom it needs to deal with unexpected or new events and developments.

More planning instruments in use

Instruments that support the Federal Council in its pro-active strategising include legislature planning, annual objectives, financial planning and the budget. They indicate how the Federal Council intends to implement the mandates it has been given by the People and parliament on the basis of the Constitution and the law. Strategies such as those aiming for sustainable development are also applied. Based on these parameters, the departments plan their activities.  

Are the objectives being achieved?

To achieve its objectives, the Federal Council issues mandates to the Federal Administration. It checks regularly whether these mandates are being carried out and whether the objectives have been achieved. In the annual report to parliament, the Federal Council states whether the objectives have been achieved. It also gives reasons for any divergences from the annual objectives and any unplanned activities.

Political planning

The aims of the Federal Council's political planning can be summarised in four points:

  • developing federal policy proactively.
  • carrying out administrative duties based on a clear strategy.
  • informing parliament in good time about government activities.
  • informing the public about political intentions.

Federal policy is planned in four stages:

  1. Using an environmental analysis, the most important challenges for a legislature period are identified. They form the basis for the legislature plan.
  2. In the report on the legislature plan, the most important objectives and measures for the relevant four year period are outlined.
  3. The annual objectives specify how the legislature objectives can be achieved and further current challenges should be overcome.  
  4. The annual report renders account to parliament and provides information on the extent to which the objectives have been achieved.

Last modification 02.11.2023

Top of page