Cassis, you are taking office at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to
spread. What does this mean for 2022?
I understand that people are exhausted. The pandemic
has restricted our daily lives for months now. It challenges us as individuals,
it makes us vulnerable and uncertain, and it has driven people in Switzerland
apart. But it has not divided us – we will not allow that to happen! I am
confident that we can manage the pandemic.
What is your
confidence based on?
Firstly, it is based on the fact that humanity has
always prevailed in the eternal struggle against viruses and pandemics. I am
convinced it will do so again here. We will need to be patient, but we will win
this fight together.
I am also confident because Switzerland has strengths
that help us in this difficult situation. The diversity of our country's
languages and cultures, the people who bring these different elements together
and are ready to listen to each other and respect one another's opinions. That
is where our strength lies!
What are your
priorities for your presidential year?
The first priority has already been set with the
pandemic, which requires the Federal Council, the cantons and the Swiss people
to take the right steps. The second priority is the diversity I mentioned
earlier. The third is innovation, which comes about when we embrace our
diversity, pooling our ideas and using them to create common solutions. This too is one of Switzerland's
you undoubtedly enjoy many privileges. What are the main ones?
privileges enjoyed by the president include additional appearances at major
events, more contact with the public, and more intensive exchanges with other
countries. Chairing the weekly meetings of the Federal Council and giving speeches
and written messages to mark special occasions are also a privilege. Everything
that is associated with the presidency is an honour, and one that I accept with
women and the different regions are currently well represented in the Federal
Council. But who represents the interests of the younger generation?
that the younger generation is not directly represented in the Federal Council.
But every federal councillor is backed up by a great many staff, and these
people are of all ages. Young and older specialists alike contribute equally to
the search for consensus. I enjoy talking to young people and listening to what
they have to say.
the strengths of our political system?
It is our
diversity that makes Switzerland strong. Our federalism - also a sign of
diversity - sometimes seems complicated and time consuming, but it often leads
to balanced solutions. And it creates a feeling of shared identity, which is
something that cannot be taken for granted. We have to approach one another
anew, listen to each other’s views and seek a common approach.