Relations between Switzerland and Poland are based on a long tradition of mutual friendship and understanding. The two countries maintain significant economic and cultural exchange. As an EU member state, Poland is one of the countries to benefit from the Swiss contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in an enlarged European Union.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Relations between the two countries have grown steadily since the end of the Cold War and are now closer and cover a wider range of areas than ever, as state visits in 2012 and 2014 illustrate. Switzerland and Poland work closely together within the framework of international bodies. One of the priority areas is cooperation as part of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU. In recent years, Switzerland and Poland have stepped up exchanges in the areas of education, research and innovation, as well as migration.
Economic relations between the two countries are developing rapidly. Poland is Switzerland’s most important export market in Central Europe. With an aggregated trade volume of some CHF 3.8 billion (2015), Poland is ahead of Russia, India and Brazil as a trading partner for Switzerland.
Switzerland's direct investment in Poland totalled CHF six billion at the end of 2014, making Poland the third-largest recipient of Swiss capital in Central and Eastern Europe.
There has been a Swiss Business Hub at the Swiss embassy in Warsaw since 2003. Poland belongs to the same constituency as Switzerland in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Cooperation in education and training
Scholars and artists from Poland can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU
During the transition phase of the 1990s, the majority of Swiss aid to Eastern Europe went to Poland, which received a total of CHF 264 million. As an EU member state, Poland is one of the countries to benefit from the Swiss contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in an enlarged European Union. On 14 June 2012, CHF 489 million was approved for 58 projects – the biggest bilateral cooperation programme Switzerland has ever supported.
Swiss nationals in Poland
At the end of 2015, there were 863 Swiss citizens living in Poland.
The Pro Helvetia Foundation was represented in Poland from 1994 to 2013, first in Krakow, then in Warsaw. Since the branch office was closed, Pro Helvetia has carried out its activities in Poland from its head office in Zurich.
With a break between 1945 and 1954, the castle at Rapperswil has housed a Polish museum since 1870. There are also Polish cultural associations in Morges and Solothurn.
History of bilateral relations
Relations between Switzerland and Poland are based on a long tradition of mutual friendship and understanding. The 90th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries was celebrated in 2009. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, relations between Switzerland and Poland have become closer.
Before and during the Second World War, a number of famous Polish exiles found refuge in Switzerland. Between 1939 and 1945, Switzerland also received and interned some 13,000 Polish servicemen who were members of the French army and had crossed the border to escape the German Wehrmacht.
Switzerland has had an embassy in Warsaw since 1921. Poland opened an embassy in Switzerland as early as 1919.