SVP Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer has taken two important actions shortly before his departure. These should pay off for Switzerland.
Switzerland’s finance minister, Ueli Maurer, has once again made a big effort for his country shortly before leaving office. He is doing two ‘good deeds’ for Switzerland.
First, he travels to Saudi Arabia this weekend to bid farewell to Saudi Finance Minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan.
Although the federal administration said in a media release Friday that the main reason for the trip was that the finance ministers would sign a memorandum of understanding to underscore that Switzerland and Saudi Arabia wanted to continue exchanges on financial issues, that was not really the case.
Finance Minister Ueli Maurer and Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan at talks in 2019. (Image: FDF)
In addition, bilateral issues should be discussed and open questions regarding the double taxation agreement recently concluded between the two countries will be clarified.
CEO of Blackrock
All of this is, of course, rather pretextual. Rather, Maurer’s priority is to leave Switzerland’s good official relations with Saudi Arabia in good hands even after he leaves office.
As muula.ch knows from reliable sources, both finance ministers are regular friends and Al-Jadaan also courts the SVP politician and his delegations at home.
There, for example, they meet powerful managers such as Larry Fink, the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager Blackrock, as recently happened. These are invaluable meetings.
Energy crisis as reason
So it is in very good style on Maurer’s part to take a proper official leave with the Saudi and that should help Switzerland in the long run. Certainly, business matters will also be discussed and Saudi oil could perhaps become more important for Switzerland in view of the energy crisis.
And the second good turn that outgoing Finance Minister Maurer is doing for Switzerland is his participation in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. For this, too, the officials in Bern found an official reason to travel to Doha.
In Qatar, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer and his counterpart Finance Minister Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari would jointly revisit financial topics. They had discussed that already at their March 2022 meeting in Doha and at the September 2022 meeting in Zurich, Switzerland said formally.
They would also exchange views on digitalization and sustainability in the financial sector, as well as on the two countries’ positions in multilateral organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund IMF and the OECD.
Here, too, however, the focus is ultimately on a proper farewell to Maurer from important figures and on possibly securing further liquefied natural gas LNG from Qatar for Switzerland.
Maurer then plans to watch Switzerland’s World Cup soccer match against Brazil on Monday, cheering on the Swiss national soccer team, and this is for our country an even greater service.
Viola Amherd, the Swiss minister responsible for sport, will not even be attending this most important sporting event, which is rather embarrassing. She also seems to be completely indifferent to FIFA, even with its headquarters in Zurich.
Talks before birthday
There is then also no dialogue about possible differences of opinion with the Gulf emirate Qatar possible, because as the saying goes, among friends, critical things can also be addressed.
Switzerland’s thanks should therefore go to the outgoing Finance Minister Maurer, who could just as easily have said goodbye to his Federal Council post quietly and without a special trip to the Gulf region a few days before his 72nd birthday.