New US Ambassador to Switzerland, Ed McMullen speaks to the AIC
Geneva, April 25, 2018: Just four months into his tenure as US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Ed McMullen spoke to nearly 100 attendees at the 764th AIC luncheon at the Metropole Hotel. A businessman based in South Carolina and former political strategist for Donald Trump, Ambassador McMullen sold his advertising firm to take up his position in Bern on December 15 of last year.
Ambassador McMullen is not a stranger to Switzerland. Under the American Swiss Foundation’s Young Leaders Conference, initiated by one of his predecessors Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, young Ed McMullen visited Switzerland in 1995 and met with Swiss businessmen, politicians and opinion leaders. He also came to Zermatt to ski as a boy and has continued to take his own family there on vacation. Ambassador McMullen expressed a true affinity with the country and described Switzerland as “amazing” on several occasions in his speech.
Beyond a clear affection for the country, McMullen expressed his belief in the true economic advantages of a strong relationship between the US and Switzerland. Both countries share common values such as democracy, the entrepreneurial spirit, the strive for innovation and individual responsibility. Switzerland and the US are ranked respectively number one and two in the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 produced by the World Economic Forum. (McMullen joked that the US would fight Switzerland for the top place). The Ambassador also pointed out that Switzerland is the 7th largest foreign direct investor in the US. “Switzerland should be taken seriously and is a great place for business,” he said. He further stated that institutions such as the AIC help to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Ambassador McMullen addressed several issues that concern most of the 40,000 US citizens living in the country, notably the recent tax law changes and security for US expatriates. The Ambassador announced “good news”: he was joining forces with ambassadors from seven other countries in similar situations to present the reality of US citizens abroad in terms of taxation to Congress. He encouraged those concerned in the audience to help him make his case.
In terms of security, he stated that “keeping our people safe and informed is a critical priority.” He encouraged all US citizens and nationals to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP, https://step.state.gov/). He informed the audience that he recently invited consular officers from many other countries to the Embassy in Bern to discuss the topic of safety, and that the Swiss officials were receptive to further the discussion.
The biggest news—for which he received a round of applause from the largely Lac Léman audience—was that the Geneva Consular Agency welcomed two new consular officers and that passport issuance and renewals, as well as notarial services would resume after nearly a year of interruption.
Despite clearly supporting the policies of President Donald Trump, Ambassador McMullen emphasized that he intended to remain nonpartisan in pursuing his duties as Ambassador, stating that whether we were Republicans or Democrats, “our flag is red, white and blue.” He applauded former ambassador (under Obama) Suzy LeVine’s work on bringing the apprenticeship program to the US and intends to carry on her work, and mentioned that former ambassador Don Beyer (also under Obama) has also been of great council.