President Sommaruga travels to Zurich and Lausanne with President Hollande

The second day of the state visit by President François Hollande was influenced by the themes of sustainable development, dual-track vocational education and training, economic cooperation between Switzerland and France and cultural exchanges. President Simonetta Sommaruga and her guest travelled to the district of Affoltern before moving on to Zurich and Lausanne.

At the beginning of the day, the two presidents visited Ernst Schweizer AG, a family-run business in the Zurich region, which manufactures solar panels and trains 46 apprentices. The firm has declared sustainable development to be its core principle. During the tour of the factory, the guests spoke with apprentices and representatives from the cleantech industry.

At Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) President Sommaruga and President Hollande met a number of creative artists. The programme put on for the guests by the ZHdK, one of Europe’s largest arts schools, featured innovative projects which transcend various social issues: ‘The Sound of Trees’ renders audible how trees react to climate change, while the ‘Birdly’ installation simulates bird flight using sensory and motor coupling controls. During the talks with leading Swiss business representatives that followed, the focus was on strengthening competitiveness and sustainability and cooperation between the two countries by optimising the economic framework.

Science and innovation in western Switzerland

On the train from Zurich to Lausanne, the two presidents took lunch and shared an informal exchange with political actors and representatives from politics, culture and science under the motto of ‘Diversités de la Suisse’. In the afternoon, the delegations visited the Innovation Park at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where they were able to appreciate the dynamic environment provided by the Innovation Park and see how innovative businesses such as Logitech and start-ups work hand in hand with scientists. President Sommaruga and President Hollande then spoke with EPFL students and answered their questions. Over 20 per cent of students and 10 per cent of EPFL teaching staff are from France. The state visit concluded with a stroll by the shore of Lake Geneva in Ouchy, where François Hollande spent a number of childhood holidays.

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Last modification 16.04.2015

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