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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Ireland

Relations between Switzerland and Ireland have traditionally been good. Both countries pursue similar interests in human rights policy. Talks about the OSCE chairmanship-in-office and lively cultural exchanges further strengthen the connections between the two countries.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

 In connection with Switzerland's OSCE chairmanship-in-office in 2014 there is close cooperation with Ireland, which held this office in 2012. Apart from that, Ireland as a member of the EU and as EU president in the first half of 2013 is an interesting partner for Switzerland. Both countries regard the consistent and sustained protection of human rights as a foreign policy priority. In January 2012 the double taxation agreement was revised, thus creating better conditions for trade.

Economic cooperation

At the turn of the century, trade with Ireland was intensive but since 2003 the volume of trade has fallen, except in 2007. Traditionally Switzerland has a high trade deficit with Ireland. In the 1990s, Ireland was an important target country for Swiss direct investments. At the end of 2010, Swiss capital invested directly in Ireland amounted to CHF 7.8 billion.

Cooperation in the domain of education

Researchers and culture workers from Ireland can apply for excellence grants from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. Several Swiss professors and lecturers are teaching at Irish universities.

Swiss nationals in Ireland

At the end of 2013, there were 1472 Swiss nationals living in Ireland.

Cultural exchanges

There are strong cultural ties between the two countries. A number of Swiss writers and artists living and working in Ireland. A variety of cultural events with Swiss participation in Ireland receives support from the Swiss embassy in Dublin, from Pro Helvetia and from Presence Switzerland. In some cases local universities are also involved.

History of bilateral relations

In 1922 Switzerland recognised the Irish Free State when it entered the League of Nations. In 1934 Switzerland opened a consulate general in Dublin. In 1939 it opened a legation and in 1962 an embassy. Ireland has had a diplomatic representation in Switzerland since 1940. The state visit by Irish President Sean T O'Kelly in 1956 was a milestone in Irish-Swiss relations.