In his opening speech at the World Economic Forum WEF in the presence of WEF President Klaus Schwab, Cassis said that the past few decades have been full of hope. It was believed that the order created after the Cold War would endure. There have been many advances, including for democracy and freedom, Cassis said.
However, this “deceptive foundation of supposed security” tempts one to underestimate one’s own vulnerability, Cassis said. Anyone who believes that these achievements are constant runs the risk of overlooking the risks of burgeoning nationalism, hunger for power and protectionism. One crisis followed the other – the financial crisis, climate change, the pandemic and finally the war in Ukraine.
This “war of aggression” has ruined Ukraine as a sovereign state, Cassis said. Given Switzerland’s neutrality, many were surprised that Switzerland had sharply condemned this war, Cassis said. However, there is no neutral attitude in the case of such a “brutal violation” of fundamental values. Because these values stand for freedom par excellence. “Democracy must be stronger than tyranny,” said the Federal President.
Accordingly, Switzerland stands with the countries that would not stand by and watch this attack on the foundations of democracy. Switzerland corresponds to this “cooperative neutrality”. This means working as a neutral country to strengthen fundamental values, safeguard peace efforts and promote a rule-based and stable security architecture.
However, Swiss neutrality has its limits because of neutrality law, which forbids participating in wars, entering into membership in military alliances or allowing troops, arms deliveries and right of passage for warring parties.
In his speech to the WEF participants, Cassis also looked to the time after the war. Switzerland is ready, as a mediator, to enable talks again and to create platforms for them.
In addition, it is already a matter of planning the reconstruction of the war-damaged Ukraine. 40 countries and 18 international organizations were invited to the reconstruction conference in Ticino in July. There, the main actors are to exchange views on the “complex system of reconstruction” for the first time.
Switzerland also offers to be the host again for subsequent steps. Even if the war is not yet foreseeable, it would be “unforgivable” not to start thinking about the time after the war.