02.06.2010 - Article
Second Annual Report on Switzerland’s Contribution to EU Enlargement
The enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and 2007 has been a major step towards greater security, stability and prosperity on the continent of Europe. This also benefits Switzerland. The Confederation, through its enlargement contribution, supports this process and the efforts of the EU to reduce the social and economic disparities in the new EU states. The federal offices responsible for implementation - the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) - have today published their Second Annual Report on what has been achieved so far thanks to the enlargement contribution.
While 2008 was a year of preparation 2009 saw the selection and adoption of concrete projects for the benefit of the 10 states which had adhered to the European Union in 2004 (EU-10), in the framework of Switzerland’s enlargement contribution. The SDC and SECO, in collaboration with the partner countries in question, have given final approval to 37 projects. The new Annual Report on Switzerland’s Contribution to EU Enlargement is an exhaustive survey of the relevant activities, and contains examples of concrete projects.
A number of important projects were launched in 2009: in Slovenia the promotion of renewable energy sources; in Poland the creation of a national capital fund for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and a joint Swiss-Polish fund for research projects; in Latvia the improvement of school transport; and in Estonia the improvement of conditions for children in care. Projects and programmes worth CHF 505 million have already been approved in the context of the total five-year enlargement contribution of CHF 1 billion for the EU-10 countries.
At the end of 2009 the Swiss parliament approved an additional contribution of CHF 257 million to fund efforts in Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the Community in 2007. Here too projects will be financed in a number of areas: security, stability and reform, environment and infrastructure, development of the private sector, human and social development.
The present economic and social situation in the 12 new EU member states is a difficult one, not least because of the latest crisis in the financial system and the world economy. The differences between the core countries of the EU and the new members, as well as among the latter, continue to be significant. Latvia, Romania and Hungary have been granted billions of Euros in aid by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and in return have promised swingeing cuts in their budgets. Against this background Switzerland’s enlargement contribution to reduce economic and social disparities is all the more essential.
Annual Report 2009 and a full range of information on the Swiss enlargement contribution
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)
Information Service, Tel. +41 (0)31 322 31 53
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO),
Information Officer: Markus Spörndli, Tel. +41 (0)31 324 09 10
Information on European questions:
Tilman Renz, Tel. +41 (0)31 322 26 40