Didier Burkhalter

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Didier Burkhalter (2011)
Didier Burkhalter (second position from left) in the official Federal Council photo 2016

Didier Burkhalter (born April 17, 1960 in Neuchâtel , full name Didier Eric Burkhalter , resident in Neuchâtel and Sumiswald ) is a Swiss politician ( FDP ). He was President of the Swiss Confederation from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 .

Political career

Burkhalter was politically active in the Hauterive community from May 1988 to September 1990 . Between July 1991 and June 2005 he was in office in the city government of Neuchâtel, and between May 1990 and May 2001 he was also a member of the cantonal parliament of the canton of Neuchâtel . From the 2003 elections to December 2007, he was a member of the National Council . In the election on November 11, 2007 , he was elected to the Council of States . Since 2005 he has been vice-president of the FDP-Liberal parliamentary group of the Federal Assembly , and he also presided over its Council of States group from 2007 until he took office as Federal Councilor.

On September 16, 2009, he was elected to the Federal Council to succeed Pascal Couchepin . He took up his post on November 1, 2009 as head of the Department of Home Affairs (EDI). On January 1, 2012, he moved to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) to succeed Micheline Calmy-Rey . On December 5, 2012, the United Federal Assembly elected him Vice-President for 2013 with 205 out of 237 votes. On December 4, 2013, Burkhalter was elected President of 2014 with 183 out of 202 valid votes . In the general renewal elections in 2015 on December 9, the United Federal Assembly confirmed him as Federal Councilor with 217 of 231 valid votes. At the end of October 2017, he resigned from his position. His successor in the FDFA is his Ticino party colleague Ignazio Cassis .

Since Switzerland chaired the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014 , Burkhalter became the acting chairman of the OSCE during his year as president. He stated that the security situation in Europe deteriorated in 2014 due to the Ukraine crisis .

On June 14, 2017, Federal Councilor Burkhalter announced his resignation as of October 31.

Political stance

Burkhalter belongs neither to the right nor to the left wing of the FDP, advocates economic liberalization and an open foreign policy and agrees on most points with the line of his party. However, he is not your typical business representative. He also strongly advocates integration, for example advocating the right to vote and be elected for foreigners at community level.

Federal Council

Burkhalter declares acceptance of the 2009 Federal Council election

Burkhalter was nominated by his party together with the right-wing liberal Geneva National Councilor Christian Lüscher for the 2009 Federal Council election. The CVP ported its own candidate, the Freiburg Council of States and parliamentary group president Urs Schwaller . After Lüscher had declared his resignation after the third ballot, Burkhalter achieved an absolute majority in the fourth ballot with a lead of 23 votes over Schwaller. As Pascal Couchepin's successor, Burkhalter also took over as chairman of the Department of Home Affairs . Didier Burkhalter officially assumed office as Federal Councilor on November 1, 2009 after the symbolic “handover of the keys” on October 30th. He said health insurance was high on his agenda. On December 16, 2011, it was announced that Burkhalter was moving to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on January 1, 2012 as the successor to Micheline Calmy-Rey.

On December 5, 2012 Didier Burkhalter was elected Vice President of the Federal Council with 205 of 219 valid votes. Almost a year later, on December 4, 2013, Parliament elected him Federal President 2014 with 183 votes.

Visits abroad as Federal President and OSCE Chairman in 2014

date place Main reason
January 16th and 17th Vienna ( Austria )AustriaAustria 

Meeting with the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer and speech at the Permanent Council of the OSCE

January 27th and 28th Warsaw and Krakow ( Poland )PolandPoland 
February 1st Munich ( Germany )GermanyGermany 

Participation in the Munich Security Conference

February 2nd to 6th Tokyo and Kamakura ( Japan )JapanJapan 
  • Audience with the Japanese Emperor Akihito and meeting with Crown Prince Naruhito
  • Meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
February 7th and 8th Sochi ( Russia )RussiaRussia 

Participation in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics

February 18 Berlin ( Germany ) and Paris ( France )GermanyGermany FranceFrance 
February 24th and 25th New York City and Washington, DC ( United States )United StatesUnited States 
5. March Paris ( France )FranceFrance 

Participation in a conference on the situation in Libya

March 24th and 25th The Hague ( Netherlands )NetherlandsNetherlands 

Participation in the summit on nuclear safety

April 7th and 8th Helsinki ( Finland )FinlandFinland 

Meeting with the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and the Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen

11 April Kiev ( Ukraine )UkraineUkraine 

Meeting with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrij Deschyzja

April 24th Belgrade ( Serbia )SerbiaSerbia 

Meeting with the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and the Prime Minister- elect Aleksandar Vučić

April 24th Tirana ( Albania )AlbaniaAlbania 

Meeting with the Albanian President Bujar Nishani

April 25 Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica ( Kosovo )KosovoKosovo 
May 6th Vienna ( Austria )AustriaAustria 

Participation in the 124th meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

May 7th Moscow ( Russia )RussiaRussia 

Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

May 7th Brussels ( Belgium )BelgiumBelgium 

Meeting with the EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy

12th of May Brussels ( Belgium )BelgiumBelgium 

Participation in the meeting of EU foreign ministers on the situation in Ukraine

2th of June Baku ( Azerbaijan )AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 

Meeting with the President of Azerbaijan İlham Əliyev

3rd of June Tbilisi ( Georgia )GeorgiaGeorgia 

Meeting with the Georgian President Giorgi Margwelashvili and the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili

June 4th Yerevan ( Armenia )ArmeniaArmenia 

Meeting with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan

June 6th and 7th Kiev ( Ukraine )UkraineUkraine 

Participation in the inauguration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

June 24th Vienna ( Austria )AustriaAustria 

Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

June 27th and 28th Baku ( Azerbaijan )AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 

Participation in the annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

29th of July Rome ( Italy )ItalyItaly 

Meeting with the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

August 25 Berlin ( Germany ) and Tallinn ( Estonia )GermanyGermany EstoniaEstonia 
5th September Newport ( United Kingdom )United KingdomUnited Kingdom 

Participation in the NATO summit

September 10 Prague ( Czech Republic )Czech RepublicCzech Republic 
  • Participation in the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum
  • Meeting with the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
September 11 Riga ( Latvia )LatviaLatvia 

Meeting with the Latvian President Andris Bērziņš and the Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma

16th September Rostock ( Germany )GermanyGermany 

Participation in the annual meeting of German-speaking heads of state

September 23-26 New York City ( United States )United StatesUnited States 

Participation in the 69th UN General Assembly

October, 16th Milan ( Italy )ItalyItaly 

Participation in the ASEM summit

28th of October Berlin ( Germany )GermanyGermany 

Participation in a conference on the situation in Libya

30th of October Paris ( France )FranceFrance 

Meeting with the French President François Hollande

November 13th Berlin ( Germany )GermanyGermany 

Participation in the OSCE Anti-Semitism Conference

14th November Ypres and Brussels ( Belgium )BelgiumBelgium 
  • Participation in a memorial event for the victims of the First World War
  • Meeting with the King of the Belgians, Philippe and the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
20th November Ashgabat ( Turkmenistan )TurkmenistanTurkmenistan 

Meeting with the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and the Turkmen Foreign Minister Raşit Meredow

20th November Astana ( Kazakhstan )KazakhstanKazakhstan 

Meeting with the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev

21st November Tashkent ( Uzbekistan )UzbekistanUzbekistan 

Meeting with Uzbek President Islom Karimov

22nd of November Dushanbe ( Tajikistan )TajikistanTajikistan 

Meeting with the Tajik President Emomalij Rahmon

22nd of November Bishkek ( Kyrgyzstan )KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan 

Meeting with the Kyrgyz President Almasbek Atambayev and the Kyrgyz Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbayev

November 27th Berlin ( Germany )GermanyGermany 

Participation in the meeting of four German-speaking foreign ministers

9th of December Bratislava ( Slovakia )SlovakiaSlovakia 

Participation in the meeting of the Visegrád group



Burkhalter studied economics , is married, lives in Neuchâtel and has three children.


Web links

Commons : Didier Burkhalter  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Swiss Federal Chancellery: The Confederation in Brief , page 55. Published 2011
  2. a b c Burkhalter: "I will wear different ties than bricklayers" . Tagesschau (SRF) . December 4, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  3. David Signer: OSCE Meeting - Russia turns deaf. At its meeting in Basel, the OSCE Council of Ministers was unable to agree on a declaration on Ukraine. There were deep rifts between Russia and the rest of the participants. In: NZZ online. NZZ Group, December 5, 2014, p. 1 , accessed December 23, 2014 .
  4. Gregor Poletti, Peter Meier: "When we celebrate Federer as the world's best, it is not arrogant". Didier Burkhalter takes stock of his presidential year - and explains why Switzerland needs to be more present on the international stage. In: Tages-Anzeiger online. Tamedia , December 17, 2014, p. 1 , accessed on December 23, 2014 : “From an international perspective, the conclusion is not positive: The security situation in Europe is worse than it was a year ago. We are not in a world at war, but in a world of tension "
  5. ^ Désirée Föry: Resignation of Didier Burkhalter - "Je ne regrette rien". In: NZZ online. NZZ Group, June 14, 2017, p. 1 , accessed June 14, 2017 .
  6. sda , morr; muei: Federal Councilor resigns - Burkhalter: "I made the decision last Sunday". In: Radio SRF 4 News online. SRF , June 14, 2017, p. 1 , accessed June 14, 2017 .
  7. kaf, oli, sda : As of the end of October - Didier Burkhalter resigns as Federal Councilor. In: 20 minutes online. Tamedia , June 14, 2017, p. 1 , accessed June 14, 2017 .
  8. ^ Federal Councilor Burkhalter advocates voting rights for foreigners , Tages-Anzeiger online, September 16, 2009
  9. see profile at smartvote
  10. Didier Burkhalter: Loyal, hardworking and experienced Radio DRS September 16, 2009
  11. "I swear before God" Federal Council election procedure on Tages-Anzeiger online, September 16, 2009
  12. sda : Key handover of the outgoing Federal Council to successor Burkhalter - Couchepin: The curtain falls. In: NZZ online. NZZ Group, October 30, 2009, p. 1 , accessed on November 1, 2009 : “... that health insurance is at the top of his agenda. But the promotion of research, innovation and culture are also on his agenda "
  13. Burkhalter becomes Foreign Minister, Berset Interior Minister . In: Tages-Anzeiger . December 16, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  14. flok, sda : Dies academicus - University of Neuchâtel honors Federal President Burkhalter with an honorary doctorate. In: news.ch. VADIAN.NET AG, November 1, 2014, p. 1 , accessed on November 2, 2014 .
  15. Simon Gemperli: Controversy over honorary doctorates - Too much honor for Didier Burkhalter? No current Federal Councilor has recently received an honorary doctorate. The University of Neuchâtel is now breaking with this 50-year tradition. This raises questions about the role of government members. In: NZZ online. NZZ Group, June 13, 2014, p. 1 , accessed June 15, 2017 .
  16. Susanna Ellner: Swiss of the Year 2014 - Burkhalter voted very clearly. In: NZZ online. NZZ Group, January 11, 2015, p. 1 , accessed on June 16, 2017 .
predecessor Office successor
Pascal Couchepin Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Ignazio Cassis