Official working visit by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Bern, Press release, 13.01.2011

The President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey today received the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini, who is paying an official working visit to Bern. Their talks focused on a number of bilateral issues. This year Switzerland and Italy are celebrating 150 years of diplomatic relations.

This anniversary coincides with 150 years of Italian unity. Several events have been organised to mark the occasion. Mrs Calmy-Rey took the opportunity to give Mr Frattini two documents concerning the recognition of the Kingdom of Italy by the Confederation in March 1861. 

During the discussions the two foreign ministers confirmed their intention to further develop the cooperation between Switzerland and Italy on the basis of the joint declaration by the respective ministries of foreign affairs that was signed in 2007. 

The two delegations regard Expo 2015 in Milan as a further opportunity of increasing the intensive cooperation between Switzerland and Italy in the area of infrastructure projects and in the field of tourism. Mrs Calmy-Rey officially handed the Italian Foreign Minister a document confirming Switzerland's participation in the Milan Expo. Switzerland is the first country, which officially confirms its participation to EXPO 2015. 

A number of bilateral issues were raised in the course of the talks. As for the fiscal questions that are still pending, it was stressed that Switzerland and Italy should continue their discussions in order to find a solution in the interest of both parties.  

Both sides again took the opportunity to condemn the attacks on foreign embassies in Rome in December. 

During the meeting at the Maison de Watteville, Mrs Calmy-Rey pointed out that about 500,000 Italian passport holders were living in Switzerland. She added that they form the largest foreign community in Switzerland, are very well integrated and contribute to the strengthening of the Italophone element in Switzerland's quadrilingual culture. On top of this, 52,000 Italian nationals commute to Switzerland to work every day.  

Mrs Calmy-Rey and Mr Frattini also stressed that Switzerland and Italy are very close economic partners. Italy is in fact Switzerland's second largest trading partner. Switzerland in turn is Italy's fifth largest trading partner. The volume of bilateral trade in 2009 was 23 billion Euros. Switzerland is also the sixth largest investor in Italy, which means that 80,000 jobs in Italy are created thanks to the Swiss capital. 

For further information: 

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Pierre-Alain Eltschinger
031 325 51 43 / 079 517 79 82

Further information:

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Italy

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs