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Schmid pleads for patriotism and openness

President Schmid says the Swiss have reason to be proud

(Keystone)

Swiss President Samuel Schmid says patriotic feelings and openness to the world go hand in hand.

In a special address for National Day on August 1, he also said that the Swiss abroad were ambassadors who were promoting the good reputation of the country and its values.

Schmid said the traditional Swiss flag had become a fashion accessory, which could be seen on clothes, and made Swissness a popular lifestyle choice.

"The white cross couldn’t get any closer to your heart," Schmid said in his speech to the community of Swiss expatriates.

But this newly-awakened form of patriotism did not contradict more openness towards the world, he added.

"The Swiss flag flaps in front of the Council of Europe buildings in Strasbourg, at the United Nations in Geneva and New York and in the camps of our peacekeeping troops in the Balkans."

Schmid described the long history of Switzerland as a success story. He said it took more than courage and good fortune but also the protection of God.

"Even if many of us don’t use this word, we have every reason to be grateful."

Grateful, happy, proud

Switzerland was still in a comfortable position, despite a stagnating economy and financial constraints, which had affected the country’s social system, according to the president.

But achievements, including political stability and tolerance towards minorities as well as the beauty of Switzerland’s landscape, outweighed the problems.

"All this gives us reason not only to be grateful but also happy and even a little bit proud," Schmid said.

He reminded the Swiss abroad that they had an important role to play.

"You are spreading the good reputation of our country – with values such as reliability, quality and innovation – across the globe."

There are more than 620,000 Swiss registered expatriates, most of them living in neighbouring France and Germany as well as in the United States.

swissinfo

Key facts

More than 620,000 Swiss citizens live in countries across the globe and about 100,000 are registered to vote in Switzerland.
Having a Swiss National Day on August 1 was introduced at the end of the 19th century but it only became a national holiday in 1994.
Legend has it that at the beginning of August 1291 men from three alpine cantons in central Switzerland swore allegiance to one another, setting the foundation for what was to become modern-day Switzerland in 1848.

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