Mr Cassis' visit is taking place shortly before Spain is due to take over the EU Council's rotating presidency on 1 July 2023. This makes Spain a key partner in terms of the next phase in Swiss-EU relations. During its presidency, Spain will be holding a number of ministerial meetings, which Switzerland is traditionally invited to attend.
War in Ukraine and UN Security Council on the agenda
During the talks, Mr Cassis will set out Switzerland's commitment to Ukraine as well as its priorities for the Swiss term on the UN Security Council, including an initial assessment of Switzerland's presidency of the Council in May this year. Switzerland and Spain share similar positions and work closely together in multilateral forums.
Close ties between Spain and Switzerland
Bilateral relations between the two countries are excellent, particularly in the cultural, economic and scientific fields. Around 92,000 Spaniards live in Switzerland (not including dual nationals) and 26,000 Swiss nationals live in Spain. In economic terms, Switzerland is Spain's eighth-largest investor, with annual trade worth around CHF 19 billion. The meeting will also allow the two foreign ministers to discuss the political situation in Spain, whose prime minister has announced early general elections for 23 July.
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