Ministers prefer to spend holidays at home

Happy family: (left to right) Leuenberger, Calmy-Rey, Couchepin, Blocher. RDB

All seven cabinet ministers are spending Christmas and New Year in Switzerland, and most will spend it with their families.

This content was published on December 23, 2006 minutes

Moritz Leuenberger, who holds the largely ceremonial position of Swiss president until the end of the year, will "keep watch", although all ministers will be in close contact with their offices.

Having wrapped up the final cabinet session of the year on Thursday, the Swiss government is winding down and preparing for the festive period.

Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz will be "at home with his family", according to his spokeswoman, although on Christmas Day he will be "tracing the final footsteps of Robert Walser", the reclusive Swiss author who had a heart attack and died while walking in the snow exactly 50 years ago.

Merz, who lives in Herisau - the town in northeastern Switzerland where Walser spent his final years - will also be giving a speech at a memorial event.

On December 26 Merz, a big ice hockey fan, will head over to the ski resort of Davos for the 80th Spengler Cup, the oldest international ice hockey club team tournament in the world.

There he will meet Samuel Schmid, the sport and defence minister, who will be taking part in the cup's opening ceremony.

Schmid will also be spending most of the time before the first cabinet session of 2007, on January 10, with his family.


According to Christoph Blocher's spokeman, the justice minister will be taking a full briefcase with him to Herrliberg, canton Zurich, where he will work from home. "He traditionally celebrates with his family," the spokesman said.

When asked what Moritz Leuenberger, who holds the environment, transport, energy and communications portfolios, would be doing over Christmas, the Federal Environment Office replied: "President Leuenberger will remain in Switzerland and keep watch."

The holidays will be relatively short for Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, whose spokseman said she would be preparing for a smooth transition when she becomes president on January 1.

Other than that, Calmy-Rey would spend a few days relaxing with her family and reading.

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard, celebrating her first Christmas as a cabinet minister, will be up in the mountains, and Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin will be with his family.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Swiss government ministries:
Moritz Leuenberger: environment, transport, energy and communications ministry
Pascal Couchepin: interior ministry
Samuel Schmid: defence and sport ministry
Micheline Calmy-Rey: foreign ministry
Christoph Blocher: justice and police ministry
Hans-Rudolf Merz: finance ministry
Doris Leuthard: economics ministry

End of insertion
In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?