After three years as head of the FDFA's State Secretariat, Livia Leu is transferring to Berlin at her own request. Before taking up her current post, Ms Leu served as ambassador in Tehran and Paris. As Switzerland's ambassador to Germany, she is once again taking on a strategically and diplomatically pivotal task. In Berlin, she will be responsible for maintaining political, economic, cultural and scientific relations with the neighbouring country that is Switzerland's most important trading partner.
Chief negotiator with the EU
The Federal Council appointed Leu as chief negotiator with the EU in October 2020. As state secretary, she was responsible for renegotiating the institutional agreement with the EU in 2021. After these negotiations were concluded, Leu set the general direction of a new negotiating package with the EU, which the Federal Council adopted in February 2022. She has been conducting exploratory talks with the EU on this basis since then, and has thus played a key role in getting the talks between Switzerland and the EU off to a new start.
As substantial progress has been made in the exploratory talks, the Federal Council will decide on the key parameters of a negotiating mandate with the EU at the end of June. Livia Leu will serve as state secretary until the end of August. The talks with the EU will not be affected by this change.
Head of State Secretariat
Since 2021, Livia Leu has also overseen the FDFA State Secretariat's restructuring process, which has bolstered the department's geographical and thematic coherence. On this basis, she also launched the new Foreign Policy Strategy 2024–27 together with the other departments.
The Federal Council thanks Livia Leu for her committed and successful work as state secretary.
The FDFA is appointing a selection committee to select her successor.
As part of the usual transfer rotation in the FDFA, the Federal Council today announced several other appointments and conferments of ambassadorial titles.
Salman Bal, currently director (with ambassadorial title) of the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI) in Geneva, has been appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Tajikistan, based in Astana.
Mirko Manzoni, currently personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Mozambique, has been appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of South Africa, Republic of Botswana, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kingdom of Lesotho and Republic of Mauritius, based in Pretoria.
Danielle Meuwly Monteleone, currently regional head of cooperation in Tbilisi, has been appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Nepal, based in Kathmandu.
Thomas Stähli, currently deputy head of mission in Beijing, has been appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Azerbaijan and to Turkmenistan, based in Baku.
Stefano Vescovi, currently deputy head of mission in Lima, has been appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Cuba and to Jamaica, based in Havana.
Conferment of an ambassadorial title
Christoph König, currently head of the Policy Issues and International Relations Section and deputy head of Planning and Strategy at the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) within the FDF in Bern, has been conferred the title of ambassador for his new function as head of Planning and Strategy and deputy State Secretary for International Finance at the SIF within the FDF in Bern.
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