On Monday 13 March 2023, a delegation from Belgium visited our Institute. The delegation was led by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal, Annelies Verlinden and also included the former Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and former Minister of Justice and Finance, Koen Geens. Also present were two diplomats from the Belgian Embassy in Bern, and a representative from the Swiss Federal Office of Police (fedpol).
Our Co-Director Prof. Eva Maria Belser gave an insightful presentation of the Swiss political system, going in-depth on issues of constitutionalism, citizen participation and the electoral system. The delegation was most interested in the way in which, in Switzerland, diversity and direct democracy through referenda does not seem to lead to increased polarization. Similarities and differences with Belgium were discussed as well as common challenges and opportunities. We hope such fruitful conversations will serve as lessons learned for both countries