State Secretary and Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Helene Budliger Artieda, and the Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Investment, Regional Development and Digitalisation, Barbora Lukáčová, signed a bilateral framework agreement in Bratislava on 19 September 2023 on the implementation of the second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states.
The cooperation programme with Slovakia takes account of the country’s current needs and aims to strengthen Swiss-Slovak partnerships in areas where Switzerland can offer a clear added value based on its experience and expertise. These areas include sustainable tourism and biodiversity protection, vocational training and healthcare. Switzerland’s contribution of CHF 44.2 million will be supplemented by CHF 7.8 million from Slovakia.
With respect to promoting sustainable tourism in and around national parks and protected areas, Switzerland can support Slovakia with experience and expertise to seek and implement long-term solutions. This includes upgrading existing structures in national parks in an environmentally responsible manner while paying particular attention to measures to protect biodiversity.
A further focus is on vocational education and training. To make practice-based education in Slovakia more attractive, it should become more widely accessible and flexible in structure and be better aligned with the needs of the labour market.
The third area in which Switzerland can support Slovakia is healthcare. Slovakia has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in Europe. Switzerland will work with Slovakia to strengthen the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and promote health.
The second Swiss contribution to selected EU states, implemented by SECO, SDC and SEM, is an investment in security, stability and prosperity in Europe. It aims to strengthen cohesion, reduce economic and social disparities and support countries under migratory pressure. With the Swiss contribution, Switzerland is also strengthening and deepening bilateral relations with EU partner countries and the EU as a whole.