At the meeting, Mr Cassis and Mr Petříček highlighted the extensive relations between both countries. The Czech Republic is one of Switzerland’s main trading partners among the new EU member states and is an important destination for Swiss investment in Central Europe. The two countries also share strong and diverse cultural ties. "Our bilateral relations have grown steadily over the years and become ever closer," said Cassis. The Swiss and Czech foreign ministers discussed areas in which their collaboration could be further enhanced, such as in the context of the United Nations and the 2030 Agenda.
European policy, COVID-19, multilateralism
The two ministers also exchanged views on Switzerland's European policy. Mr Cassis underlined the importance of maintaining good and stable Swiss-EU relations and explained the upcoming decisions on European policy. Another topic of discussion was both countries' post-Brexit relationship with the United Kingdom.
During lunch, the two ministers discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They each commended the high level of cooperation between the two countries, such as in the repatriation of their respective citizens, and the overall level of cooperation in Europe. They agreed on the continued importance of close dialogue with all European countries.
Finally Mr Cassis and Mr Petříček discussed the situation in Belarus and other international issues of geostrategic concern. Mr Cassis stressed Switzerland's commitment to a strong and effective multilateral system. Switzerland also has a major interest in a rules-based international order and a robust and future-oriented UN.
Special relationship since the Prague Spring
The excellent political and economic ties between Switzerland and the Czech Republic are underpinned by close human relationships. Around 13,000 Czechoslovak refugees came to Switzerland following the Prague Spring of 1968 and built a new life for themselves.
Trade between the two countries in 2019 was worth approximately CHF 4.6 billion. There are some 120 Swiss companies operating in the Czech Republic, employing around 28,000 people.
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