03.10.2019 | Axpo sponsors annual Soirée Suisse of the Swiss Mission to the EU

Swiss National Day in Brussels

The Swiss Mission to the EU holds the Soirée Suisse in Brussels in autumn. Axpo had the pleasure of sponsoring this year’s event and gave the guests some interesting insights into the energy sector.

It was that time of the year again: Tuesday evening more than 600 guests gathered at the Brussels club Jeux d’Hiver for the Soirée Suisse, including representatives of European institutions, business figures and diplomats from many countries. Whereas other Swiss embassies around the world hold their event on the 1st of August, the annual Soirée Suisse of the Swiss Mission to the EU does not take place until the autumn as the European Parliament shuts down in the summer.

The aim of the Soirée Suisse is to strengthen the ‘Switzerland’ brand abroad. Axpo sponsored this year’s event and gave the guests some interesting insights into the energy sector. The company thereby emphasised its importance as Switzerland’s largest producer and Europe’s leading marketer of renewable energy.

Ambassador Philippe Brandt (Swiss Mission to NATO; Swiss Embassy in Belgium), Ambassador Urs Bucher (Swiss Mission to the European Union) and Robot Nao
Tech4Good and who invented it?

The theme of this year’s Soirée Suisse was #Tech4Good. Technology and digitalisation can improve people’s day-to-day lives. Switzerland is a global leader in this respect. As an example of digital transformation in recent years, Axpo showed how the maintenance of transmission lines has become easier and more efficient by using of drones.

Fittingly, the opening speech was introduced and narrated by the robot Nao. The two hosts, Ambassador Urs Bucher (Swiss Mission to the European Union) and Ambassador Philippe Brandt (Swiss Mission to NATO; Swiss Embassy in Belgium) welcomed the guests and opened the buffet.

« Sooner or later, political decisions by the EU will also have an influence on Swiss politics.»
Alena Weibel, Head Public Affairs
Group photo of the sponsors with among others Eberhard Röhm-Malcotti, Ambassador Phillippe Brandt, Ambassador Urs Bucher, Elise Beauverd and Alena Weibel
A big opportunity for Axpo

Alena Weibel (Head of Public Affairs), Eberhard Röhm-Malcotti (Head of EU Energy Policy) and Elise Beauverd (Research Associate) were not just at the Soirée Suisse to sample the delicious cheese buffet and the ‘Street Fondue’ – their main mission was to raise Axpo’s profile among Members of the European Parliament, energy experts from EU member states and representatives of the European Commission. It was particularly important to remind the newly elected members of the parliament that the EU will need to cooperate with the Swiss energy sector to complete its internal electricity market.

Alena Weibel notes: ‘Contact with the various EU stakeholders is very important. Sooner or later, EU policy also influences Swiss politics. It’s therefore beneficial to get an early feel for the mood and take it back to Bern. The reverse is also true, of course.’

From Brussels to Glarus in the blink of an eye

To teach the guests more about Swiss electricity generation, Axpo brought along a virtual reality experience that gave the guests the opportunity to walk along a virtual replica of the Limmernboden dam and enjoy the view of the mountains. The braver ones could walk over the drop on a board and jump off; the guests became more courageous as the evening went on. Even ambassador Urs Bucher dared to leap into the virtual void below.

The virtual reality Limmernboden dam provided an opportunity to explain the guests that Axpo’s flexible plants cannot only supply renewable electricity but also important ancillary services to Switzerland’s neighbouring countries. Since it is in everyone’s interest to ensure a reliable, sustainable and competitive electricity supply in Continental Europe, it is important that the Swiss electricity industry remains a well-integrated part of it.

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