Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain close political relations. Switzerland is committed to strengthening good governance, justice, the market economy and health services in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
To ensure lasting stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland is supporting the reform efforts of the country's authorities at all levels – public administration, entities, cantons and communes. Switzerland is committed to strengthening good governance, justice, the market economy and health services in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also supports local efforts to deal with the legacy of the 1992–95 war.
Switzerland is an important partner for Bosnia and Herzegovina, both in terms of trade and direct investments, although these are relatively small from the Swiss point of view. The large Bosnian diaspora in Switzerland and the remittances they send home are an important aspect of the economic relations between the two countries.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Bosnia and Herzegovina can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Switzerland also implements two programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina to encourage research in the country:
- Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland (SCOPES)
- Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP)
Both programmes promote collaboration between Swiss and Bosnian researchers.
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland is committed to helping Bosnia and Herzegovina deal with the past and the legacy of the 1992–95 war and to bring the different ethnic groups closer together. Switzerland's contribution focuses specifically on demining, identifying victims using DNA, helping to report objectively on war criminals standing trial and witness protection. Other education-related projects involve establishing standards for the teaching of history.
Twenty Swiss Armed Forces personnel are working in the EU peace enforcement operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR Althea) and a further six are part of mobile training teams ensuring the safe storage of ammunition and weapons stockpiles.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a priority country for Switzerland's cooperation programme with Eastern Europe, which aims to ensure political stability in the country and to implement much-needed structural economic and political reforms. To this end, Switzerland has contributed over CHF 500 million to projects, programmes and multilateral activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the last 20 years. Switzerland supports the Bosnian population's wish to become more closely integrated with the rest of Europe.
The cooperation office in Sarajevo also implements projects of the State Secretariat for Migration as part of the bilateral migration partnership between Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Swiss embassy together with Pro Helvetia has been very active in the cultural field in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the war. Switzerland has provided support since 1996 for the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF), the most important in South-Eastern Europe, and finances the awards for the best documentary and best film about human rights. In this context the SFF collaborates closely with Geneva’s Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains.
Swiss in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2015 there were 579 Swiss living in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland has maintained diplomatic relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995 and has a positive image in the country thanks in part to its acceptance of many refugees during the 1992–95 war and subsequent support for reconstruction.
The Swiss government, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS), awards various postgraduate scholarships to foreign scholars and researchers.
Scholars from Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to apply for University scholarships for PhDs, postdoctoral research and a research in the realm of their PhD or their medical specialization.