Since Croatia’s independence in 1991 and the establishment of bilateral relations in 1992, the relationship between the two countries has evolved from Switzerland’s initially humanitarian engagement in Croatia following the armed conflict to one primarily focused on intensifying technical co-operation and economic relations. Today, bilateral relations are to be seen in the light of Croatia’s aspirations to become a member of the European Union. Relations between Switzerland and Croatia are good and have potential for further development.
Two treaties were signed during the meeting: the first an aviation agreement that further intensifies the very close co-operation between Croatian Airlines and Swiss; the second a bilateral agreement that enables and regulates the gainful activities of accompanying persons of Swiss diplomats and consular officials in Croatia. Switzerland hopes this agreement will have positive effects on the recruitment of well qualified staff. These treaties strengthen the bilateral co-operation.
The two Foreign Ministers also discussed areas of European policy. Mrs Calmy-Rey explained Switzerland’s bilateral way in its relations with the EU and informed her colleague about the extension of the Swiss-EU Agreement on the free movement of persons as well as about Switzerland’s contribution to the new EU member states (1.2 billion Swiss francs over five years) in the context of the latest EU enlargement. Mr Jandroković spoke about Croatia’s efforts to join the EU, his country’s principal foreign policy objective. Mrs Calmy-Rey expressed her full support for the European perspective of the Balkan States.
The Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs also took this opportunity to speak about Switzerland’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and, in this context, about the priorities that Switzerland has set in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. To promote these priorities, Switzerland has organised a ministerial conference to be held in Interlaken on the issue of the reform of the European Court of Human Rights, and an academic conference in St Gallen on democracy and decentralisation. To conclude, the two Foreign Ministers discussed the international situation, in particular the Balkan region and the Southern Caucasus.
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