The history of Swiss foreign policy since 1848 was often written away from the limelight. This applies as much to its humanitarian involvement and participation in international organisations as it does to the representation of its own interests. There are, however, a few exceptions that remain firmly anchored in the collective public memory.
On 20 May 2003, Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey stepped over the demarcation line between North and South Korea wearing red trainers that sported a Swiss Cross. It was the first time that a member of a foreign government was permitted to cross the border on the 38th parallel. Moments like these have made Swiss foreign policy very concrete in past years – and have also led to lively public discussions.
The vast majority of Switzerland's foreign policy activities, however, have been much more discreet, often taking place hidden from public view. The following examples address central areas of the Swiss federal state's foreign policy since 1848: the representation of Swiss interests and the management of Swiss relationships abroad, the country's multifaceted humanitarian involvement and its participation in international organisations.
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Last modification 04.11.2019