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Small messages have to tremble

Lonely? Alexander again; and thinks for a moment. No, lonely in the strange city, he did not feel. But in the workplace, "I need to make decisions often with myself," he says. Again; and, as Ambassador in Bratislava, and the only Swiss Diplomat in Slovakia. In addition to him, two local employees of the Embassy, a driver and an Intern from Switzerland. Tranquil Europe. Until last autumn, again; and Consul General in the 26-million-city of Shanghai. He had about 40 employees, 20 of them reporting directly to him.

On the wall of Hoffets office a map of Slovakia depends, pins mark the places where the 361 registered Swiss nationals living. There are some needles. He would like to visit soon, all the places, travelling over Land, says the Ambassador, but his calendar was full with dates in the capital: working lunch with Ministers and members of Parliament. Slovakia elects a new head of state, in addition the country has the chairmanship of the OSCE. In addition, there are exhibition openings, award ceremonies. "I get more Inputs than I can use it", says again; and.

But the sense of his business in doubt. The Swiss Federal audit office (sfao) is the Supreme audit institution of the Federal government, has investigated the Use of 31 small Swiss embassies and consulates and last week, a harshly worded report submitted. The micro-missions, it says, caused an annual cost of nearly 25 million Swiss francs, but would have "no clearly identifiable profile", only "low visibility" and left approximately in the bilateral Dossier with the EU, "few concrete traces" of effectiveness. Because of the potential Frustration on the mini missions was significant, it is difficult to find good staff for them. A Revision of the strategy in the Department of foreign Affairs (FDFA) was "necessary" for agencies with "limited value" keepsake the EDA "Alternatives". So I guess: out of business. And instead, countries are responsible in Bern to determine, Ambassador-in-Residence, messenger, stay home.

Bye-bye, Los Angeles

Two of the studied micro-missions are already in: Los Angeles and Karachi is completed in 2018. However, the EDA is now able to handle hardly just the list and the Swiss representation of network thinning. Among the 31 verified outside almost all of the embassies of Scandinavia, as well as Dublin, Lisbon and Luxembourg. Who wants that Switzerland should be in these major cities continue to diplomatically present, must reckon with the political opposition.

Basically, the foreign Department is, however, receptive to the criticism. You share the point of view of financial control, according to which the concept of Micro-distributors, "the limits of functional ability has been reached". Micro-representations – properties sent with only one diplomat, and three to four local employees – allowed Switzerland to the upheavals of the 1990s, the representation of power in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as in emerging countries without a lot of resources to expand. Today, the principle seems to be "More diplomacy , same costs" maxed out. While there is "quite" micro-missions "achieved a positive effect," writes the EDA in a little combat fun. However, because this effect depended often of a single person, "may not convince as a model".

In Bratislava, and so everything with the Ambassador again; and. He wants to make it work, don't close it, on the contrary, He argues, to look at what makes his little message. It was important to show presence outside of the capital. "In Meetings with mayors of valuable information can be collected, business contacts are made."

Currently prepares the Ambassador gave a lecture on the Swiss policy on Europe, he wanted to tour through Slovakia. But how long will he be able to be in the office alone? "Visitors by appointment only" on the brass plaque next to the entrance to the Embassy.

For most of the citizens in the embassies and consulates are the first line of contact for Trouble abroad. This is true not only for the approximately 750000 of the Swiss abroad. The EDA points to the increase in the number of holiday travelers that justify a dense representation of the network. Where else tourists should call in Uruguay, or Guatemala, if you got a passport and a backpack missing?

Where: consular services, so the treatment of Visa and passport requests, does not offer the smallest representations. The next big representation must be sought, often in another country. Also, Bratislava has refers to any consular section to 70 kilometers away in Vienna.

help for the Stranded

procurement of information, export promotion, land advertising: Diplomatic missions have Aryan other functions beyond the Consul. In some countries of Africa and Asia, an Ambassador or Consul games also for the development of cooperation or the promotion of peace an important role, says Laurent Goetschel, Professor of political science at the University of Basel. "If Switzerland wants to use in this way in a country that makes a micro-representation of sense."

All missions in remote places such as Antananarivo, Bishkek or Maputo may be more useful than it seems – in contrast to the well-developed Luxembourg or Norway guides are there rar.

finally, it comes to Switzerland also to security through ideology-free diplomatic relations with the world. As a neutral state, was not a member of an Alliance, had to have Switzerland on a "broad - based relationship and the representation of power", to their interests, writes the EDA.

So a couple of little productive consulates for Switzerland maybe. The smallest embassies in European countries are also Lobbying for the Non-EU country of Switzerland. The removal of a representation also succeeds in hardly ever without a snub of the host country.

The Federal Finance control have treated the subject solely from a financial point of view, says Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter, President of the foreign policy Committee in the national Council. It was her job, but "easy to hit all of the small messages on a fiscal Make, seems to me to be short of the mark".

the closure of embassies in the East the EU as well as in Bratislava Schneider-Schneiter thinks is wrong: After all, Slovakia was Mitempfängerin the Ostmilliarde, in addition, there is a historical commitment by the refugees of the Prague spring in 1968. Also, geopolitically, it was wrong to return to the States in the East of the EU, says Schneider-Schneiter: "only strengthens Russia." Small message, big characters.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 21.03.2019, 22:12 PM

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