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Diplomats in Switzerland get a change of clothes

Diplomats in the traditional morning coat are received by Ruth Dreifuss, Swiss president in 1999


Foreign diplomats in Switzerland will be able to relax a little thanks to a change in the protocol governing their dress code at official ceremonies.

The first official measure taken by the new president, Moritz Leuenberger, means that the morning coat will no longer be required.

Just before taking over the mainly ceremonial, annually rotating role of president, Leuenberger said he planned to simplify and modernise a variety of protocol rules. Ambassadors will now only have to wear a dark suit when presenting their credentials or attending the Swiss president's traditional New Year reception.

The long-tailed morning coat is an increasingly rare part of a male diplomat's wardrobe. Neighbouring France has already dispensed with the tradition, and Italy has just taken a similar step.

Switzerland's decision leaves Germany as one of the few remaining European countries to insist on such formal wear.

swissinfo with agencies

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