First working visit to Bern by Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna

Press releases, 26.02.2015

Bern, 26.02.2015 - Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter received his Polish counterpart, Grzegorz Schetyna, today in Bern. Their talks focused on bilateral relations one year after the adoption of a joint declaration on closer cooperation, Switzerland's enlargement contribution to reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged European Union (EU), and the two countries' relations with the EU.

The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Didier Burkhalter, met today with the new Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Grzegorz Schetyna, for political talks. One of the main topics they discussed was Switzerland’s policy on the EU. Mr Burkhalter informed Mr Schetyna about the status of the implementation of the new article on immigration in the Swiss Federal Constitution and about ongoing consultations between Switzerland and the EU concerning the free movement of persons.

The two foreign ministers also discussed Poland's priorities within the EU and regional themes such as the crisis in Ukraine, relations with Russia, and European security. They also spoke about cooperation within the framework of the OSCE Troika composed of Serbia (which holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2015), Switzerland (OSCE chairmanship in 2014), and Germany (OSCE chairmanship in 2016).

Mr Burkhalter and Mr Schetyna also exchanged views on bilateral relations between their countries, which are based on a long tradition of mutual friendship and understanding. During Mr Burkhalter's presidential visit to Warsaw a year ago, Switzerland and Poland signed a joint declaration intended, among other objectives, to strengthen cooperation on consular matters, economic relations, vocational education and training, development assistance, and research and innovation.

Two fields of action play a particularly important role in bilateral relations: cooperation between Poland and Switzerland in the constituency they belong to in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and Switzerland's enlargement contribution.

As part of this contribution, Switzerland is supporting 58 projects to help reduce economic and social disparities in Poland and therefore in the EU. Switzerland's CHF 489 million enlargement contribution for Poland from 2007 to 2017 is its largest bilateral cooperation programme to date. About 40% of this amount is flowing to the structurally weak regions of south-eastern Poland:  Lubelskie (Lublin Voivodeship), Małopolskie (Lesser Poland Voivodeship), Podkarpackie (Subcarpathian Voivodeship) and Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross Voivodeship). The projects aim to promote economic growth, improve working conditions, increase public and social security, protect the environment and strengthen civil society.

With an aggregated trade volume of CHF 4 billion (2014), Poland ranks ahead of Russia, India and Brazil as a trading partner for Switzerland. Poland is playing an increasingly important role as an investment location for Swiss businesses.

Additional indications:

Poland – A partner country for Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement

Bilateral relations

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