Bilateral relations Switzerland–Greece

Relations between Switzerland and Greece are close, reflecting a long tradition between the two countries. They cover a variety of fields such as the economy, energy, culture, tourism and cooperation in the field of migration.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Switzerland and Greece have common interests in the areas of energy, taxation and migration. There are also converging interests in such international forums as the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Switzerland is providing support to the TAP project for a Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which is expected to start transporting Azerbaijani gas to Italy via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania by 2019/2020.

As a Schengen member state, Switzerland is committed to monitoring the external borders of the Schengen Area. It deploys Swiss border guards through Frontex to critical locations on the Schengen Area’s external borders, including Greece.

Treaty Database


Economic cooperation

The balance of trade has long been positive for Switzerland. It exported goods worth CHF 777 million to Greece in 2016. Major exports include pharmaceuticals, watch and clock industry products, agricultural products, machinery and chemical products.

At the end of 2015, Switzerland was the fifth largest foreign investor in Greece.  There are around 60 Swiss companies in Greece employing roughly 6‘900 people.

In the long term the continuing presence of Swiss firms will depend on whether Greece returns to growth.  Areas of potential for Swiss investment lie  for example in renewable energies, tourism, logistics as well as agriculture.

Greece is a favorite destination for Swiss tourists. Each year some 400,000 Swiss spend their holidays in Greece, making a significant contribution to the Greek economy.

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise

SECO Information on countries

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Researchers and artists from Greece can apply to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. Each year the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece (ESAG) in Eretria on the island of Euboea near Athens offers Swiss students a chance to conduct practical archaeological research over the summer. Since 1975, the school has been a cornerstone of Switzerland’s academic and cultural presence in Greece.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists for the 2017–2018 Academic Year

Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece

Swiss nationals in Greece

At the end of 2016 there were 3135 Swiss living in Greece.

Cultural exchanges

Swiss stage and screen artists appear frequently in Greece, often in the context of summer festivals. Among the regular guests in Athens are the Béjart Ballet and the Zimmermann & de Perrot theatre group.

Each year the embassy organises projects for the "Semaine de la Francophonie" in March and the "Settimana della lingua italiana" with the relevant foreign cultural institutions. Greek film festivals regularly screen Swiss films.

A highlight for Greek culture in Switzerland was the “Eretria” exhibition in Basel in 2010–2011.  The exhibition was dedicated to the finds of Swiss archaeologists, who have been carrying out excavations in Eretria since 1975.

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland has had a diplomatic representation in Greece since 1895, when it opened a consulate general in Patras. Later a legation was established in Athens, followed by an embassy since 1954.

During the German occupation of Greece from 1941 to 1944 the Swiss consulate supported the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to assist the starving population.  After the Second World War two Swiss citizens did a great deal to promote Greek culture in Switzerland: Pavlos Tsermias, a correspondent for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and professor of Modern Greek; and Bertrand Bouvier, a professor at the University of Geneva, translator and editor of Greek texts.

Before and during the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Ioannis Capodistria, a native of Corfu in the service of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, laboured successfully for the reorganisation of the Swiss Confederation and for the international recognition of Swiss neutrality.

The Greek uprising of 1821 against Ottoman rule led to the creation of an independent Greek state in 1830. Prominent figures from Switzerland supported the Greek rebels. Two Swiss personalities famous in Greece are the banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard, and Johann-Jakob Meyer, founder of the first Greek daily newspaper.

Historical Dictionary of Switzerland: Greece (fr, de, it)