In a few weeks, Martin Dahinden (64) packs his bags. The Mission of Washington is to be completed for the Swiss Ambassador to the US after five years. Time to take stock. VIEW visited Dahinden on the Swiss Embassy for the final interview, and spoke with him about Donald Trump, his complicated Start with the Obama Administration, the image problem of Switzerland in the United States and his plans for the future as a pensioner.
you once said in a lecture that you Wake up every day with the Tweets of Donald Trump. Are you happy that you can soon sleep in and relax? Martin Dahinden: don’t worry, I’ve also slept in Washington quite well (laughs). It is not so, that the US President has with his Tweets in my life. With this statement, I wanted to show that Donald Trump communicates very differently than Barack Obama did. He has the talent to affect with a Tweet, the news of the day, but also to determine. So the USA are two and a half years after the elections, in a kind of election campaign.
by the end of 2014 was blocked in the U.S. internal and foreign policy very much. Since, it has become apparent that Obama will not succeed in its political Agenda to fully implement. He saw himself as a President who would tackle the big issues such as health or migration policy. Not everything he has done.
I wouldn’t say That. When he took office in January 2009, he had to overcome the financial crisis and in the Wake of a deep recession with a crisis management – eight million Americans had lost their jobs. And then the makes followed change in the Congress, suddenly the Republicans were in the majority. President Trump started under better conditions.
He realized with his party, for example, a large tax reform. But it is for the Swiss Ambassador, to evaluate this positively or negatively.
President Trump, I’ve seen several times, without, however, a more in-depth conversation. With President Obama, I was able to replace me 2014 longer, than he invited me and my family to the White house to pick up my certification letter to sign. He knew the names of my children and my wife, and was particularly interested in topics of development cooperation. He knew that I was previously Director of the SDC (Swiss Agency for development and cooperation, ed. d. the editorial) had been. This meeting impressed me very much – a real Highlight.
taken. Yes, that was a complicated Start. The banks and the tax issue has impacted the relationship enormously. You know, it’s not a Problem, if it is a different view of Washington. If you do, but as a small country such as Switzerland, the focus of the world in USA, then it can be quite uncomfortable.
There was in the election campaign, for example, posters with the inscription: “do not trust the people with Swiss Bank account.” The displayed our image problem and I wanted to correct.
Ueli Maurer as the first President of the Swiss Confederation in the White house received. A historic Moment, which was not random. We have worked over the years systematically to our Image. Hardly anyone here has realized in 2014, the Switzerland of the screen is the largest Investor in the United States. Or that the Swiss companies created Jobs in America the highest average income. Today, the decision-makers in Washington aware of this. The Trump government estimates, Switzerland.
Both countries would benefit. We already have good economic relations and want to intensify now. The Meeting of President Mason and President of the Trump was hugely important, because we were able to raise for the first Time the issue of free trade agreements at the highest level.
highlighted . Trump was the only the Iran. so you claim. I can assure you: For the Americans as for us, the economic relations in the centre. Of course, current topics such as Iran and Venezuela were addressed, but only on the edge.
Martin Dahinden (64) is since October 2014 the Swiss Ambassador in Washington. At the end of August 2019, he goes into retirement. Prior to his tenure in the U.S. capital, he was chief of the Directorate for development and cooperation (SDC). The father of two and operating in 1987, joined the host in the diplomatic service. He was a member of the Delegation to the General agreement on tariffs and trade Gatt, Director of the International centre for humanitarian demining in Geneva and at the Swiss Embassy in France and in Nigeria, as well as at the UN Mission of Switzerland in New York and as Deputy head of Mission to Nato in Brussels.
There will be continued conversations. As US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo Federal Council Cassis visited in June in Switzerland, was the free trade issue. But the official negotiations start, there is not reported yet. In the US, it is just the way that the negotiations with China and the ratification of the deal with Mexico and Canada consume an enormous amount of capacity.
I can make no forecasts.
We have no influence on the outcome of the US elections. Therefore, I would like to Express my opinion also.
Clearly there would be changes. But it also depends on who would be the successor to, or successor. The Democrats have a huge range among their candidates for the different positions are represented. It is still early and still not clear who will make the party internally, the race. Therefore, it is impossible for me to estimate what the impact would be for Switzerland.
as part of our annual large-scale event “Soirée Suisse” we wanted to honor the past year, the Swiss chef Henry Haller. He cooked in the 60s, 70s and 80s in the White house for five different U.S. presidents. Because Henry Haller is already 96 years old, we were not able to make it somewhere. So I asked the White house whether we are likely to use the local kitchen. All have said here on the message that I wish I had a waffle (laughs). But it has ultimately worked out. It was a wonderful evening.
is it farewell. At the end of August it goes back to you. You can enjoy the Switzerland? I’m going to enjoy the peace and quiet in the old town of Bern and am looking forward to meeting old friends that I no longer had seen. Then I want to go also a lot of Hiking. This is one of my great passions, came here in Washington too short.
Dahinden starting in September 100 per cent of pensioners? no, I already have projects that I am very happy. I was at the University of Zurich and a lecturer on Swiss security policy. And I’m going to engage in the Advisory group of Unicef. It never gets boring to me also in Switzerland.
The United States apply to Germany as the second most important trading partner of Switzerland. In spite of the rain of economic exchange is not a free trade agreement between Switzerland and the USA. In 2006 canceled plans for an agreement mainly because of resistance from Swiss agriculture.
Now, Switzerland takes a new start-up. For the local economy, much is at stake: each Year, exports to the value of over 40 billion Swiss francs to be exported across the Atlantic. On the opposite side of Switzerland to 2018 imported only Goods to the value of almost 21 billion Swiss francs.