The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Macron attempts to distill strained French-Swiss relations

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 17 July 2023
The relationship between France and Switzerland has become increasingly strained, but French President Macron is hoping to change that with an official state visit this fall.
Macron attempts to distill strained French-Swiss relations
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) greets President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset (R) upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace on 22 June 2023 (Keystone SDA).

French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Switzerland on November 15 and 16 at the invitation of the outgoing President Alain Berset. François Hollande was the last French head of state to visit our country eight years ago.

On Sunday, the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) confirmed corresponding reports from NZZ am Sonntag and the French-speaking Swiss newspaper Le Temps. The EDI wrote that the state visit was a consequence of the excellent contacts that the Federal President made with the French President this year.

Berset and Macron met this year, among other things, in May on the occasion of the coronation of King Charles III in London and at summits in Reykjavik, Chisinau and Paris. An EDI spokesman told the NZZ am Sonntag that during the state visit an evaluation of the bilateral relations would be made.

For Berset, who is leaving the Federal Council at the end of the year, the visit should be the crowning glory of his work on the Federal Council. The visit is likely to be important for Switzerland’s foreign policy.

Macron attempts to distill strained French-Swiss relations
The French flag flies over the Elysee Palace (Keystone SDA).
Necessary maintenance of relationships

Berset last met Macron in June in Paris at the summit for a new global financial pact. Speaking to the media, Berset emphasized the always warm and friendly contacts with the French President.

In recent years, however, the Federal Council’s decision in favor of the US F35 fighter jet and against the French Rafale in 2021 has clouded the relationship between Bern and Paris.

After Macron’s election as President, hopes for an early state visit were expressed in Switzerland. The last official visit to Switzerland was in April 2015 by then-President François Hollande. During the official two-day visit, Bern and Paris celebrated their reconciliation after years of tax disputes, which began under Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, as it was said at the time.

This article was reprinted with permission from Keystone SDA.

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