The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is once again taking place at its traditional date in January after recent editions were cancelled due to the pandemic in 2021 and postponed to the spring last year. President Alain Berset will open the event together with WEF founder Prof. Klaus Schwab, on Tuesday, 17 January.
At the Annual Meeting, members of the Federal Council have the opportunity for many more contacts and discussions; at least 50 bilateral meetings are expected to take place. Programme changes are always possible, even at the last minute.
President Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), will meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres together with the vice president of the Federal Council, Viola Amherd. Further meetings have been scheduled with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and the presidents of Ecuador and Colombia, Guillermo Lasso and Gustavo Petro, among others. From Europe, President Berset will meet Polish President Andrzej Duda, the heads of state of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, Latvia, Egils Levits, Moldova, Maia Sandu, and Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, as well as Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Mr Berset will also take part in a number of WEF panel events.
Federal Councillor Viola Amherd, vice president of the Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), will meet her Dutch counterpart Kajsa Ollongren for bilateral talks. She and Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin will also meet with Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti. For Federal Councillor Amherd, the focus will be on the current security situation in northern Kosovo, as well as Switzerland’s deployment within the framework of Swisscoy. In addition, the head of the DDPS will visit the members of an infantry battalion in the Davos area during their deployment to ensure security at the event.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will be placing the emphasis of his talks at the WEF Annual Meeting on the continuation of Switzerland’s commitment to the reconstruction of Ukraine. To this end, Switzerland, together with representatives from the United Kingdom and Ukraine, is organising the handover event of the Ukraine Recovery Conference ‘From Lugano to London’. Federal Councillor Cassis will also take part in events addressing the war in Ukraine and its global consequences. In addition, relations with the EU and European countries will dominate his agenda this year. Foreign Minister Cassis will hold talks with his counterparts from the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Spain, as well as representatives of the Ukrainian government.
Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter, head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), will exchange views with the finance ministers of several European countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Luxembourg) and is planning a meeting with the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni. She will also meet IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, Chinese Vice Premier Liu, and the finance ministers of Brazil and Qatar.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will use the Annual Meeting in Davos to press ahead with various thematic priorities in the areas of business, trade, research and innovation. On Monday, 16 January, in the run-up to the Annual Meeting, he and Federal Councillor Albert Rösti will meet with Robert Habeck, the German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. In addition to meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti, bilateral talks are also planned with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha, Ukrainian Economic Affairs Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih, Czech Trade and Industry Minister Jozef Síkela, and the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Odile Renaud-Basso. An informal ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will also take place on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting. At the invitation and under the chairmanship of Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, around 30 WTO members will gather to discuss the goals for the next ordinary WTO Ministerial Conference, set to take place in the United Arab Emirates in February 2024.
Federal Councillor Albert Rösti, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), will hold talks with the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, on a range of issues including energy supply as a result of the gas and electricity shortages. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Mr Rösti is scheduled to hold talks with international players in the energy and telecommunications sectors. On Wednesday, he will open a panel discussion on energy infrastructure and decarbonisation together with the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency IEA, Fatih Birol. The event at the Annual Meeting is organised by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO and ETH Zurich.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Switzerland.