This is the first foreign trip that Ms Sommaruga will make since the outbreak of the pandemic in Europe. The programme on the first day of the presidential visit includes several events dedicated to economic and scientific exchanges. The official delegation will be accompanied by an economic delegation composed of representatives from the energy and infrastructure sectors. On the second day, Ms Sommaruga will meet various ministers in Kyiv along with Ukrainian civil society representatives to discuss areas in which cooperation between Switzerland and Ukraine can be further strengthened.
On Thursday, 23 July, Ms Sommaruga will travel to the east of the country, where talks on the current situation are planned with local authorities and humanitarian and development policy experts. Also planned is a visit to a water treatment plant supported by Switzerland, which supplies the population on both sides of the contact line.
The search for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is one of Switzerland’s peace policy priorities. Switzerland is the fifth largest donor of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and is also involved in the peace process, particularly through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Switzerland has been active in the country through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) since 2000 and has opened a cooperation office in Kyiv.
The two states took up diplomatic relations shortly after Ukraine gained independence in 1991. Contacts are good and can be further developed in a number of areas, which is evidenced by the fact that this is the first bilateral presidential visit between Switzerland and Ukraine. Economic relations with Ukraine benefit greatly from the free trade agreement with EFTA, which has been in force since June 2012. The volume of trade in 2018 amounted to CHF 556 million, which leaves a great deal of potential for development. That potential has increasingly been exploited over the last few years. Cultural contacts have also been deepened recently.
Address for enquiries:
DETEC Information Service: Géraldine Eicher, +41 79 211 30 52