During his meeting with Foreign Minister Logar, Mr Cassis briefed him on Switzerland's European policy, underscoring the Federal Council's desire to engage in a structured political dialogue with the EU. "The Swiss Parliament recently approved the payment of Switzerland's second contribution aimed at reducing economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU," he noted. Slovenia was already among the beneficiary states of the first Swiss contribution. Cooperation will also continue in the context of Switzerland's second contribution. Mr Cassis also explained that he now expected Switzerland to be reintegrated into the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmes.
Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the European Union was also on the agenda. Foreign Minister Anže Logar provided an interim assessment of his country's presidency of the Council and underlined the importance of further developing the partnership with Switzerland. During its six-month presidency of the Council of the EU, Slovenia invited Switzerland to participate in a series of informal council meetings.
Continued investment in the Western Balkans
Mr Cassis also reiterated Switzerland's continued commitment to the Western Balkans. To promote stability, security and democracy in the region, Switzerland has invested about EUR 3 billion. Mr Cassis emphasised that strengthening the Western Balkan countries' European outlook is a key to ensuring the stability of the European continent. He also took the opportunity to invite Slovenia to participate in the Ukraine Reform Conference, which will take place on 4 and 5 July 2022 in Lugano.
Switzerland is Slovenia's second most important economic partner
Relations between Switzerland and Slovenia are close in a variety of areas. Trade between the two countries has increased significantly in recent years: Switzerland is Slovenia's second largest economic partner and the third largest foreign investor. The two countries also cooperate closely in multilateral organisations.
Mr Cassis is travelling on to Saudi Arabia from 19 to 20 November and then to Libya on 21 November for working visits. He will be accompanied by National Councillor Jacqueline de Quattro (PLR/VD) and State Councillor Marianne Maret (The Centre/VS).
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