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Swiss neutrality, recognised by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, allows Switzerland to play a global mediation role.

Swiss neutrality, born during Europe's Wars of Religion and recognised by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, allows Switzerland to play a mediation role. Geneva, where the League of Nations and then the United Nations have been based since 1919, is one such place where it acts regularly as a go-between. But since Switzerland joined the UN in 2002, it has moved on from just offering its good offices to a more affirmative diplomacy, usually in favour of peace policies. Today, its diplomatic clout far outweighs its political impact.

37,400 International civil servants, diplomats and NGO employees work in Geneva, the world's busiest diplomatic centre.

50% of the Swiss foreign ministry's budget was spent on relations with the EU during 12 years of negotiations - nearly SFr5 billion.

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