In a speech at the anniversary celebration, Federal Councillor Cassis spoke highly of the excellent relations between Switzerland and Denmark. The two countries are not only similar in terms of surface area and population. They also frequently represent common interests at the multilateral level. Both countries attach great importance to topics such as democracy, human rights, international humanitarian law and development cooperation. They also have close bilateral ties in a variety of areas, including education, research and innovation. "Our two countries have much in common; they share many fundamental values and can thus achieve common goals on the international stage," said Mr Cassis.
Meeting with ministers and courtesy visit with the Queen
On 15 October, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) met with Minister for International Development Rasmus Prehn. The meeting centred on the two countries' excellent bilateral relations. It also provided an opportunity to communicate Switzerland's international cooperation strategy and to discuss the global situation with regard to migration. The following day, Mr Cassis met with Minister for Finance Nicolai Wammen for bilateral talks. The two ministers discussed Europe and Swiss-EU relations. Mr Cassis emphasised the importance for Switzerland of stable and regulated relations with the EU. Also on the agenda were the strategies of Switzerland and Denmark with regard to their new relationships with the United Kingdom following its withdrawal from the EU.
The official meetings further covered Switzerland's and Denmark's multilateral engagement and other matters of international interest. Mr Cassis was accompanied by Member of the National Council Eric Nussbaumer (Swiss Social Democratic Party), who heads the Swiss parliamentary delegation to the EU/EFTA and is a member of the National Council's Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), and by Member of the National Council Anna Giacometti (FDP.The Liberals), who is also a member of the FAC.
Mr Cassis ended his trip with a courtesy visit to Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.
Diplomatic relations since 1920
Mr Cassis's trip is the first visit to Denmark by a Swiss foreign minister since 2002, when former Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss met his counterpart Per Stig Møller in Copenhagen on an official working visit.
The two countries have ties that go back many decades. Switzerland appointed an honorary consul to Copenhagen as early as 1887. In 1921 a consulate general was established, and in 1945 became a legation. In 1957 the legation officially became a Swiss embassy. In 1918, the Danish chargé d'affaires took up his post in Bern. With the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1920, he was accredited as plenipotentiary minister. A hundred years on, Switzerland and Denmark still maintain close contact and enjoy excellent relations.
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