“If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” It is an elementary principle of political communication. It was therefore in the nature of things that after having been subjected to an avalanche of criticism for weeks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis is trying to regain control. Let him deliver his own explanations and his message to the media. Her trip to four African countries and the close visits of the Secretary of State to Brussels to unblock the European dossier have provided her with the opportunity in recent weeks. This has earned us, in the absence of other celebrations, a firework of interviews in the German-speaking and French-speaking media and an abundance of tourist reports on the RTS. In the NZZ, the Day indicator, Freedom, The Nouvelliste, Time and at 7:30 p.m. from RTS Sunday evening. What should be remembered? Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis exists. If the goal of this media bombardment orchestrated by its communicators was this, it has been achieved.
But still? We know that the problem of the Ticino Federal Councilor is his fuzzy image, his hesitation, his reluctance to display his convictions, to assert his action. Convictions are neither certainties nor ideologies. They do not prohibit questioning. They serve to shape and explain political actions. They answer the question: “In view of what do we undertake our action”? It therefore seems natural that, in a democratic country, we know a little about the convictions of elected officials and ministers. A political figure can never be detached from his public image.
And our investigation:
However, reading Ignazio Cassis’s interviews, one seeks the content of the message, lost in formalism and prudence. What does he have to tell us? This trip was therefore an excellent opportunity to give content, a backbone, to an elusive speech. Still missed. Whether we ask around a Sunday evening viewer or a regular reader of the Time on what he learned from the minister’s statements, we will always have the same answer: “He went to Africa.” What cartoonist Pitch summed up perfectly in Vigousse by hijacking the cover of Tintin in Congo*. It’s funny… and cruel.
Because there was enough to explain to the Swiss that by inaugurating a new strategy of international cooperation – targeted at the countries which are at the origin or through which go through large migratory flows to Europe -, it served directly the interests of Switzerland.
Three years of questions, that questions
In the matter of relations with the EU, we will know that “the task remains difficult, because it affects the balance between independence and prosperity” and that in the end “it is the Federal Council which will decide”. Citizens have the right to answers other than platitudes on issues vital to the country. Or to more explanations than his calamitous “I am questioning” three years after his criticism of UNRWA, the UN aid body for the Palestinians. Three years of questions, that questions.
The African journey of the head of Swiss diplomacy will undoubtedly have been a success and Berne’s requests for clarification on the subject of the institutional agreement will perhaps be satisfied. At least we now know that Ignazio Cassis exists. But no one has met him yet. We will also remember that “the task remains difficult”. For who?