Bilateral relations Switzerland–Bosnia and Herzegovina

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.

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

Switzerland has an interest in lasting stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is why it supports the reform efforts of the country's authorities at all levels – whole state, entities, cantons and municipalities.  Thanks to its substantial commitment, Switzerland is contributing to strengthening good governance, justice, the market economy and health services in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until 2017, it also supported local efforts to deal with the legacy of the 1992–95 war.

Treaty database

Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Economic cooperation

Although Switzerland is Bosnia and Herzegovina's most important EFTA trading partner, the volume of trade between the two countries is relatively modest. Switzerland's main exports are pharmaceutical products and vehicles, while it primarily imports textiles, furniture and base metals. Although Switzerland is one of the ten largest investors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, most investments are made by international companies based in Switzerland.

There is also potential to increase trade and investment given the extensive and well-integrated Bosnian diaspora in Switzerland.

Economic cooperation between the two countries is regulated by a number of agreements on air transport, agriculture, finance and the movement of persons and goods, for example.

Economic cooperation and development, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Researchers from Bosnia and Herzegovina can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship. Since it started taking part in the programme in 1992, some 40 scholarships have been awarded to nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists SEFRI

Peacebuilding and human security

Switzerland supports Operation Althea, the multinational peacebuilding force of the European Union (EUFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A maximum of 20 members of the Swiss Armed Forces participate at any one time in this mission. In addition, a maximum of six military personnel are part of mobile training teams ensuring the safe and secure storage of ammunition and weapons stockpiles.

Swiss Armed Forces: EUFOR LOT and MTT (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Since Swiss cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina began with humanitarian aid operations in 1996, there has been a gradual shift to development cooperation support. Today, Switzerland is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's largest bilateral cooperation partners. The 2021–24 cooperation programme is based on a solid partnership and mutual interests. Switzerland continues to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in specific sectors in line with the priorities set by the government. It also works with partners who can advance reforms and develop new prospects and opportunities. CHF 63 million have been earmarked for the current programme budget. 

Development and cooperation: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Migration cooperation

Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina have maintained a migration partnership since 2009.The two countries carry out regular bilateral meetings in order to implement this agreement. Switzerland views migration as a wide-ranging issue and works to strengthen migration governance and management among authorities as well as efforts to prevent irregular migration.

Cultural exchange

Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina have close cultural ties. Switzerland has been active in the culture sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995, when it initially focused on rebuilding various cultural institutions. Since then, Switzerland has shifted to revitalising the independent arts as well as the local culture scene by supporting smaller projects. The Swiss embassy is involved in spreading Swiss culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including events[A1]  such as the French language week, as well as publicising Swiss literature with the support of Pro Helvetia. The Swiss government also acts as patron of i-dijaspora, an association which brings together the Bosnian diaspora in Switzerland and helps connect actors from both countries, as well as promoting Bosnian culture in Switzerland.

Pro Helvetia

Association i-dijaspora

Swiss nationals in Bosnia and Herzegovina

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 862 Swiss citizens living in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 2020. 

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina have maintained diplomatic relations since 1992. Switzerland's acceptance of large numbers of refugees during the 1992–95 war and its subsequent support for reconstruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina have contributed to the good image it has in the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)