Foreign minister says adieu

Micheline Calmy-Rey, as pictured in November 2011 Keystone

After nine years as a member of the Swiss government, Micheline Calmy-Rey has officially said goodbye.

This content was published on December 14, 2011 - 09:17 and agencies

The outgoing president and foreign minister expressed her gratitude in a speech to her colleagues, who were gathered in Bern for the cabinet elections on Wednesday.

The 66-year-old Social Democrat emphasised the importance of maintaining Switzerland’s international presence.

“Those who passively stand at the side-lines fail to represent our national interests and limit our impact and opportunities,” Calmy-Rey said.

At the same time, she said that Swiss leaders needed to gauge Switzerland’s influence accurately.

“There are some who believe we’re powerless and cannot achieve anything anyway. Others think we’re omnipotent and can sort out every problem. Both are wrong,” she continued.

Regarding Europe she said that Switzerland was making progress in its efforts for the next round of bilateral agreements with EU states.

Yet she criticised the financial system, calling for reform. In addition, Calmy-Rey pointed out that more than a billion of the world’s people could not afford food, and that another billion were at risk for slipping into poverty.

“What we need is sustainable and fair economic growth, and that requires a stable financial system,” she said.

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