Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
(in German) Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten
(in French) Département fédéral des affaires étrangères
(in Italian) Dipartimento federale degli affari esteri
(in Romansh) Departament federal d’affars exteriurs

The west wing of the Federal Palace of Switzerland
Agency overview
Formed1848; 173 years ago (1848)
JurisdictionFederal administration of Switzerland
Minister responsible

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: About this soundDepartament 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


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 Confederation shall strive to preserve the independence of Switzerland and its welfare; it shall, in particular, contribute to alleviate need and poverty in the world, and to promote respect for human rights, democracy, the peaceful coexistence of nations and the preservation of natural resources.

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

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.


List of heads of department

See also