Enlargement contribution: Bilateral framework agreements with Bulgaria and Romania signed

Local news, 07.09.2010

Bern, 07.09.2010 - The president of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Bulgarian Minister for EU Funds Management Tomislav Donchev, and the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, signed the bilateral framework agreements with Bulgaria and Romania on September 7, 2010. The agreements stipulate the content and implementation of the Swiss enlargement contribution to those countries. First projects will presumably be selected and implemented towards the end of 2010.

Federal Councillors Micheline Calmy-Rey and Doris Leuthard together with the Bulgarian minister responsible for administering the relief funds from the European Union, Tomislav Donchev, at the signing of the framework agreement between Switzerland and Bulgaria in Bern in 2010.
Signing of the bilateral framework agreements with Bulgaria and Romania. DEZA

Until December 2014, CHF 181 million will be allocated to programmes and projects in Romania, CHF 76 million in Bulgaria. Payments will be made over a period of ten years, until 2019. Now that the bilateral framework agreements have been signed, the implementation of the enlargement contribution for the two most recent EU members, who joined the European Union (EU) in January 2007, can be prepared.

Switzerland's commitment in the scope of the enlarged EU is a symbol of solidarity. At the same time, Switzerland is building the foundation for solid economic and political relations with the new member states of the European Union. This contribution will be implemented in cooperation with Bulgaria and Romania, respectively; it is therefore a bilateral cooperation.

Switzerland will make the final decision about the financing of a project or programme; it is also Switzerland's responsibility to closely monitor the implementation. First projects will presumably be selected and launched as of December 2010. Adequate measures to fight abuse and corruption will be part of the projects and programmes.

The bilateral Framework Agreements stipulate the principles of the cooperation and define the concrete topics and processes. Switzerland will give support in areas where the partner countries have claimed great need for catching up, and in which Switzerland can offer know-how and expertise. The areas cover topics such as security and reforms, support of the civil society, integrating minorities, environment and infrastructure, promotion of the private sector, research and education as well as supporting institutional partnerships.

Through the enlargement contribution, Switzerland helps reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU. Since 2007, Switzerland has contributed CHF 1 billion to projects and programmes in the ten states that joined the EU in May 2004. Bulgaria and Romania, which joined in 2007, will be supported with an additional CHF 257 million. The legal basis of the enlargement contribution is the Federal Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe, which was approved by the Swiss people on 26November 2006. The parliament has approved the framework credit based on this legal foundation.