Relations between Switzerland and the Czech Republic are excellent, and official contacts have steadily intensified in recent years. The meeting of 31 May between FDFA Head Didier Burkhalter and his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg underscores the strengthening of relations between the two countries.
The Ministers exchanged views on Switzerland's European policy and the Czech Republic's European Neighbourhood Policy. Mr Burkhalter emphasised the importance for the two partners of relations between Switzerland and the European Union and the renewal of the safeguard clause for EU Member States.
Discussions also focused on the Swiss contribution to the enlargement of the European Union. This contribution, which amounts to CHF 110 million for the Czech Republic, will allow the implementation by 2017 of 38 projects that aim to reduce economic and social disparities. Mr Burkhalter welcomed the success of the cooperation between Switzerland and the Czech Republic within the framework of this contribution.
Multilateral relations were also discussed during the meeting. As Switzerland is about to assume the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014, Mr Schwarzenberg also spoke about his expectations for the OSCE's role in Eastern Europe. The two ministers also assured each other of their mutual support for their respective countries' candidatures for the Human Rights Council.
A trade volume of approximately CHF 3.7 billion in 2012 makes the Czech Republic Switzerland's largest trading partner in Central Europe. This official visit was a long-awaited opportunity to showcase trade and economic relations between the two countries.
The meeting of 31 May between Didier Burkhalter and Karel Schwarzenberg took place after the two ministers participated in the Annual Conference on Swiss Cooperation with Eastern Europe. In his opening speech, Mr Burkhalter stressed the importance of Switzerland's commitment to reducing economic and social disparities in the enlarged European Union. Mr Schwarzenberg presented a partner country's point of view on the Swiss contribution to the enlargement of the European Union.
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