Address to the Swiss Abroad 2012 by President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf for Swiss National Day on 1 August 2012.
Dear Swiss Abroad
Our National Day on the first of August unites us as Swiss
citizens wherever we are. At this very moment, Swiss flags are
flying north and south and around the world; if not in the wind,
then in our hearts and minds. I hope you have a very enjoyable
first of August! “Vive la Suisse”!
The ties that bind us will also remain strong tomorrow and
in the future. The world of the internet, e-government and
e-voting are bringing us ever closer together. We are online
every day, and that is a good thing.
The Federal Council and parliament would like to establish
further links in the form of a new Swiss Abroad Act and an Act
on the Presence of Swiss Education Abroad, formerly known as
the Education Act for the Swiss Abroad. Admittedly, these are
just words, and words are by no means enough. However, they
form a strong safety net for the seven-hundred-thousand Swiss
citizens living abroad. That is something we can rely on, and
that is what really counts!
What do we mean by ‘We Swiss citizens’? Since last year’s
federal elections, you Swiss Abroad have become much more
tangible to us at home. We have a much clearer picture of you.
Researchers have compiled a ‘political profile’ of Swiss living
abroad, and the conclusion is clear: you are more open and
liberal than we are back home. And that, I believe, is good for
us and for Switzerland.
Switzerland possesses many strengths that we can build on.
This we all know. Quality is our maxim and innovation our
objective; that is what makes our economy strong. But we also
face big challenges: climate change, energy policy, financial
and economic crises, a changing Europe. We Swiss are no
strangers to these problems.
We need to keep an open mind and act decisively. We must do
the right things today to provide a secure foundation for our
children tomorrow and in the future. A foundation that gives
them room to manoeuvre. We must establish a firm foothold to
be able to withstand the pressures of tomorrow. We must look
to the future; and we must try to picture ourselves from the
outside, from the critical and self-critical perspective that you
have of us, as Swiss living abroad.
You Swiss citizens living abroad are a part of our country. We
want to be there for you, a safe haven providing strength and
support back home in Switzerland. And we hope that you are
also there for us, to be the voice of Switzerland abroad –
standard bearers of the Swiss flag and its values of freedom,
democracy and peace. To ensure that reliability and a feeling
for quality prevail wherever it flies. For that I extend my
warmest thanks to you!
On behalf of the Federal Council and the Swiss people at home,
I wish you a happy first of August two-thousand and twelve!
Let us continue to be there for one another!
Address to the Swiss Abroad 2012