Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
Switzerland supports projects with CHF 333 million in its partner countries. They support economic growth and improve working conditions. This is also in Switzerland's interest as the Swiss export industry profits from developing the Eastern European growth markets and the increasing spending power in the partner countries.
The projects are extremely varied and range from supporting structurally weak regions in South-East Poland and the implementation of a dual vocational training system in Slovakia to scholarships for young scientists from the new EU member states. The enlargement contribution also finances small company loans and thus contributes to the creation and preservation of numerous jobs. It also strengthens companies' social responsibility and tourism in structurally weak regions and improves the application of international financial reporting and auditing standards, which increases investors' willingness to invest and helps to prevent financial crises.
Local initiatives are strengthening economically weak regions in the new EU member states and creating employment. An interim evaluation of ten regional development projects in Poland shows that the implementation of the projects is largely going according to plan and already producing results.
The unemployment ratio in Latvia rose dramatically as a result of the world’s economic and financial crises. The microlending programme makes it easier for micro enterprises and the self-employed to obtain business loans. The aim of the project was to award around 650 microcredits and thus create up to 900 new jobs. 2013 these targets are exceeded: Already 800 microcredits are allocated and approximately 2,000 jobs have been retained or created thanks to the microlending programme.
Independent, high-quality audits discourage the falsification of corporate accounts and thus also help prevent balance sheet fraud and the economic instability that accompanies it. Switzerland therefore provides funding for a regional programme coordinated by the World Bank's Centre for Financial Reporting Reform to introduce more transparent accounting and auditing standards in several of the new EU member states. In the framework of this programme, a two day study visit to Switzerland took place in December 2012.
On 29 August 2012, an information event was held in Bern on the Swiss-Romanian research projects being supported by the Swiss Enlargement Contribution for the benefit of Romania. The moment has now come to get underway with the implementation of the 26 projects selected. As a rule, they are to last for a three-year period and be terminated by 2015. Switzerland is supporting the programme with an amount of CHF 10 million.
In the framework of the Swiss-Polish Research Programme, two research teams from Bern are participating in projects on flood prevention and aspects of climate change. The Programme is financing a total of about 40 research projects which are being carried out by Swiss and Polish universities and research institutes. The programme has an overall budget of about CHF 30 million.
It was back in 2009 that the first of over 450 academicians from the new EU-Member States were accepted into the scholarship programme of the Swiss Enlargement Contribution. The transnational scholarship fund is endowed with an overall budget of CHF 45 million, thus making it possible for young, talented researchers to effectuate a maximum two-year stay in Switzerland on a research fellowship. Four scholars provide an insight into their stay, thereby giving the Programme a concrete face.
14.11.2011 Local news
As part of its enlargement contribution, Switzerland is supporting two tourism projects to strengthen so-called destination management organisations (DMO) in the economic development areas of Northern Hungary and the Northern Great Plain. Both projects focus on medicinal and cultural tourism, and a total of CHF 2 million will be invested in improving tourist services.
In Poland, the principles of environmental awareness and corporate social responsibility have not yet been widely adopted. With a contribution of about CHF 5 million, Switzerland seeks to improve this situation. The project agreement was signed on 4 August 2011.
21.06.2011 Local news
Switzerland contributes 7.48 million Swiss francs to support a microcredit programme in Latvia. The programme agreement was signed on 21 June 2011. The microcredit programme will make it easier for small-sized companies and self-employed workers to obtain microloans, which in turn should spur the creation of up to 900 new jobs.
Switzerland supports Malta in the realization of two projects, i.e., special funding for the “Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies” and the acquisition of a PET scanner for diagnosing cancer. Just about CHF 5 million will be injected into these projects from the Swiss Enlargement Contribution. Both projects are on the verge of implementation, bringing to an end the distribution of the Swiss Enlargement Contribution earmarked for Malta.
31.03.2010 Local news
On 30.3.2010 President of the Confederation Doris Leuthard approved the first Swiss project to support the Hungarian private sector. The aim of the project is to ensure the long-term financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This will help to create a large number of jobs.
27.08.2009 Local news
Implementation of accounting and auditing standards
Particularly in times of economic downturn, the existence of transparent framework conditions is crucial to the growth of private enterprise. SECO has thus approved a CHF 10 million project supporting the implementation of the accounting and auditing standards for businesses in Poland.
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Promoting renewable energy, creating employment and strengthening civil society: the final review of Switzerland's enlargement contribution summarises the results of the Swiss-backed projects.
Information on the results achieved in the last three remaining country programmes that are still under way, e.g. mine clearance in Croatia, the promotion of SMEs in Romania and decommissioned trams from Basel improving Bulgaria's public transport system. The report also briefly explains the background to the second Swiss contribution to selected EU member countries.
The ten countries that joined the EU in 2004 have completed their projects under the enlargement contribu-tion. SECO and the SDC have taken stock of the last decade and published the results in their 2017 annual report. The projects have made a significant contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in Europe. Switzerland was also able to use its expertise to make a meaningful contribution to a number of projects.
The report shows the results and the state of progress, e.g. in the dual vocational training programme in Slovakia, the fight against human trafficking in Bulgaria and Romania, the rehabilitation of a port in Latvia, and a venture capital fund in Hungary. In addition, it covers the national programmes which have come to a close in Estonia and Slovenia and presents the new programme in Croatia.
The economic situation in structurally weak regions has been improved through promoting tourism and marketing regional products.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs present an interim balance sheet on the first five years since the approval of the Enlargement Contribution to the new 10 EU-Member States. The projects are to be implemented within another five year period, i.e., by 2017.