Foreign and security policy – a targeted partnership

Flags of various states and international organisations
Flags of various states and international organisations © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Switzerland and the EU pursue very similar foreign policy objectives: both promote the peaceful co-existence of nations, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, the mitigation of poverty and the preservation of the environment. For this reason, Switzerland and the EU foster a close and substantive dialogue, working in partnership to achieve their objectives on important issues within the European neighborhood, in regions further afield, or in multilateral forums.

Swiss participation in EU peace promotion missions

In addition to the foreign policy dialogue, Switzerland safeguards its interests concretely and solidarity through its participation in the EU’s civilian and military peace promotion missions in the framework of the EU’s common security and defence policy. Swiss civilian experts participate in the EU ‘Rule of Law’ mission, EULEX Kosovo, as well as in the EU ‘Capacity Building Mission’ in order to train local security forces in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali), and members of the Swiss Armed Forces have been operational in the field for Operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Further possibilities for participating in EU missions are being studied on an ongoing basis. In addition, Switzerland regularly provides the EU with personnel for EU election observation missions throughout the world. Furthermore, Switzerland dispatches experts to the European External Action Service on a regular basis. 

European Defence Agency

In 2012, Switzerland and the European Defence Agency (EDA) signed a Framework for Cooperation in the field of armaments cooperation. The agreement enables Switzerland to identify armament policy developments at an early stage and gives it access to a wide-ranging network. It serves as a door opener for multilateral armament cooperation in Europe in all areas of activity of the EDA, such as research, development and armament, as well as education and training. Switzerland retains decisional autonomy on what information it wants to share within the scope of this framework, and in which projects and programmes it wishes to participate.