AUCKLAND: H.E. Dr David Vogelsanger
Wednesday, 13 February 2019 6.00pm - 7.30pm
Lecture Theatre [102-G36], Old Government House, Princes Street, The University of Auckland

H.E. Dr. David Vogelsanger

(Ambassador of Switzerland in New Zealand)

Switzerland, at the heart of Europe, but outside the European Union

Abstract:  The political traditions of federalism and of direct democracy in this small but prosperous country of eight million people differentiate it from the 27 other democracies which form the European Union.

Switzerland, a co-founder in 1960 of the European Free Trade Association, has always favoured economic integration in Europe.  Yet, the political aims of the Union are not shared by most Swiss citizens, as was shown in 1992 by rejection of membership in the European Economic Space, and in 2001 by the rejection by 77 % of the voters of a popular initiative in favour of EU membership.

Geography puts the country in the middle of the EU countries.  Its neighbours Germany, Italy and France, are the most important market for Swiss products.

A dense net of Swiss-EU bilateral agreements has been woven, covering economic, transport and scientific relations. Yet, Switzerland is cautious about a plan to develop existing treaties to grant vast powers to the European Court.

The Speaker:  A citizen of Zürich, Dr. Vogelsanger did military service in the mountain infantry and as a legal officer.  His Master’s degree, and Doctorate in history & politics (1986), are from Zürich University.

From 1980, as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, he was on missions in different zones of armed conflict in Africa, the Middle East and East Asia, and in 1984 and 1985 was an advisor to the UN Force in Cyprus.

In 1987, after a short period in the private economy, he entered the Swiss Confederation’s diplomatic service.  He served at the Mission to the OECD in Paris and at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (international humanitarian organizations, peacekeeping, and narcotics issues).  From 1993, he was in charge of political issues and the spokesman for the Embassy in Washington D.C., and from 1997 was Deputy to the Ambassador in Bulgaria and Macedonia. From 2001 to 2005, he directed the Department’s International Organizations Section. After five years as Consul-General in Milan, for four years he was Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire and four other African nations.

In September 2014 he became the Ambassador to New Zealand, with accreditation to the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.

He is a member of the historic Hat Makers and Weavers Guild in Zürich.