Switzerland and the UK enjoy excellent relations, covering a broad spectrum of areas ranging from trade, research and student exchanges to significant financial relations, all of which are of the utmost interest to both sides. Bilateral relations between the two countries have their legal basis to a large extent in Switzerland's bilateral agreements with the EU.
These legal bases will have to be replaced following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. As part of its 'Mind the gap' strategy, the Federal Council intends to safeguard the existing mutual rights and obligations beyond the date of the UK's withdrawal from the EU as far as possible, and to deepen them in areas where there is an interest in doing so. Mr Hunt's visit was an opportunity to acknowledge the work carried out so far within the framework of this strategy.
At their meeting, Mr Cassis and Mr Hunt also discussed various security challenges and regional issues, for example concerning Saudi Arabia.
The meeting was part of the regular, high-level diplomatic visits between the two countries. Back in autumn 2016, the Federal Council set up an interdepartmental steering group, coordinated by the Directorate for European Affairs of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, to carry out the technical work on relations between Switzerland and the UK.
The President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, had received Mr Hunt for a courtesy visit the previous evening.
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