Honorary consuls are local personalities who represent foreign states in Switzerland, and they are not paid for their work. What motivates them? (RTS/swissinfo.chexternal link)
There are about 130 honorary consuls them in Switzerland. They are not professional diplomats, but people who work on a voluntary basis until their appointments are revoked. For instance, François de Coulonexternal link, who owns the château of Eclépens in the canton of Vaud and a large wine estate, is also an honorary consulexternal link for Slovakia.
Jean-Marc Probst is the director of a businessexternal link that sells machines for the building industry. He is also honorary consulexternal link for Germany in cantons Geneva, Valais and Vaud. His consulate provides passports and official documents for the 16'000 Germans in the region.
Michel Sogny is a pianist, composer and doctor of philosophy who developed a new approachexternal link to teaching the piano. He has his own foundation, SOS Talents, which was created to support gifted young pianists. Sogny is also the honorary consul external linkof the Republic of Lithuania in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud. He accepted the post because he wanted to contribute to the cultural cooperation between Lithuania and Switzerland.