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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA, German: Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten, French: Département fédéral des affaires étrangères, Italian: Dipartimento federale degli affari esteri, Romansh: Departament federal d’affars exteriurs ), so named since 1979, is one of the seven Departments of the Swiss government federal administration of Switzerland, and corresponds in its range of tasks to the ministry of foreign affairs in other countries. The Department is always headed by one of the members of the Swiss Federal Council. As of 1 November 2017, the department is headed by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis.

Former names

  • 1848–1887: Federal Political Department
  • 1888–1895: Federal Department of the Exterior
  • 1896–1978: Federal Political Department


The mission of the FDFA is to safeguard Switzerland's interests abroad and its relations with other countries. It does so by means of Swiss Foreign Policy, whose objectives have been laid down in Art. 54 para. 2 of the Federal Constitution (BV) as follows:

The priorities of Swiss Foreign Policy for the years 2012–2015 include:

  • Fostering and cultivating Swiss relations with its neighbouring countries and the European Union (EU);
  • Strengthening Switzerland's commitment to stability in Europe and in the world;
  • Intensifying and diversifying strategic partnerships and Switzerland's multilateral commitment; and
  • Enhancing the support and offering of services provided to Swiss citizens abroad.

Originally it was the rotating Swiss President who headed the "Political Department" (PD) for a one-year term. In 1888, the Department was restructured by Numa Droz, who straight away headed the Department for five years. In 1896, the Federal council returned to the original system with a Federal Councillor heading the Department only for a given one-year term. The one-year limitation was abandoned in 1914. Since 1979, the Department has retained the name by which it still goes today.


  • General Secretariat Presence Switzerland[1]
  • State Secretariat Presidential Affairs and Protocol Crisis Management Centre
  • Directorate of Political Affairs Europe, Central Asia, Council of Europe, OSCE Division Middle East and North Africa Division Subsaharan Africa and Francophonie Division if Asia and the Pacific Division Americas Division United Nations and International Organisations Human Security Division Sectoral Foreign Policy Division Division for Security Policy
  • Directorate of European Affairs, DEA
  • Directorate of Corporate Resources (DR)
  • Consular Directorate CD
  • Directorate of International Law DIL
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

List of heads of department

See also

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