The visit marks the centennial anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Romania. Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey seized the occasion of her official visit to highlight the good relations existing between the two countries, relations that have significantly intensified over the past 20 years.
Ministerial-level meetings have been taking place annually, and a number of major bilateral agreements have been concluded such as, for instance, in the domains of investment protection, double taxation, readmission, the fight against terrorism, and the combat of organized crime. Since 1990, the volume of bilateral trade has increased tenfold to over CHF 1 billion, and in 2010, bilateral economic relations registered a growth rate of 9%.
During her visit to Bucharest, Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey pointed out that Switzerland was the sole European country to decide to extend the free movement of persons to the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria by a popular referendum in 2009. In the same vein, in a popular referendum held in 2006, Swiss voters accepted the Federal Act on Cooperation with the Countries of Eastern Europe, thereby creating the legal basis to provide support to the new Central and East-European EU-Member States with a contribution to European enlargement.
Within the scope of the Swiss Enlargement Contribution, Romania has been slated to receive an amount of CHF 181 million. Swiss President Calm-Rey said that this was a manifestation of Swiss solidarity in reducing the social and economic disparities in the enlarged European Union. She went on to state: “Security, stability, and common prosperity in Europe are also in the interest of Switzerland, a non-EU-Member State”.
Last September, Switzerland and Romania signed an agreement on a pertinent cooperation programme. The projects and programmes focus on domains such as, for instance, security and reforms, the environment and infrastructure, promotion of the private sector, as well as training and research. An amount of CHF 27.8 million has been earmarked for the support of civil society and for the integration of Roma and other national minorities. Since the beginning of the 1990s and up to Romania’s EU membership in 2007, Switzerland had already been providing Romania support within the frame of transition assistance.
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