Straight talking: Ambassador Paul Seger, director of Public International Law at the Swiss Foreign Ministry, is remarkably open. "Probably my half Hungarian roots" he jokes, confronted with the observation when interviewed by Swiss News.

AuteurHeddema, Renske
Fonction Politics

Wearing his dark grey suit, red bowtie, and sporting a crew cut, at 45, he is rather young for his role.

Paul Seger startet his career in 1983 in Bern at the Department of Public International Law. Later, he moved to the Swiss Embassy in Argentina. One line day in 2003, the phone rang. It was the new Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey, offering him a comeback in Bern: rids time as a Director of the Department.

Paul Seger has an enormous portfolio, extending from human rights to neutrality, covering the legal framework of bilateral treaties and the Swiss participation in international courts of justice.

Today, sitting in his room at the Federal Palace, Seger speaks frankly about the issues Switzerland faces being a small, neutral country in the light of a changing world.

Swiss News: Ambassador Seger, international terrorism sow has reached Europe. After the attacks in Madrid the EU has appointed a central coordinator. Was Switzerland Involved in this process?

Seger: Switzerland has bilateral treaties on police cooperation with EU-States, without being directly involved, we are informed as partners and cooperate with the EU.

When it comes to issues of international security, Switzerland also works closely together with organisations like the OECD. The fact that Switzerland now is a full member of the UN makes our position stronger. Our proposals in matters of international law and security count.

Recently, some terrorist cells have been detected in Switzerland. Is terrorism likely to pose a threat to this country?

That is difficult to say. However, I have full confidence in the mechanisms Switzerland has in place. Recently, the national prosecutor has been given a greater competence to investigate organised cross border crime such as drug trafficking and money laundering, or crimes with a relationship with international terrorism.

The cantonal structure hardly seems appropriate to fight a global threat.

I have no reason to believe that our structure poses a problem. I do know that we have a very close cooperation with the US, when it comes to the fight against the financing of international terrorism. Banking secrecy is no issue whatsoever in cross border criminal investigations. The US justice has our full collaboration in this matter.

It is obvious that Swiss membership to Schengen nations (the treaty with the EU ensuring collaboration in matters of police and justice) would make life easier. Does Federal Councillor Christoph Blocher, who opposes...

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