The very good relations between Switzerland and Poland are based on a long tradition. The two countries maintain significant economic and cultural exchanges. Poland was one of the recipient countries of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The two countries maintain close diplomatic relations, which have grown steadily since the end of the Cold War and are now closer and cover a wider range of areas than ever, as the state visits in 2012 and 2014 illustrate. Over the last decade, one of the priorities of bilateral relations has been close cooperation within the framework of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU. Furthermore, in recent years, exchanges in the areas of education, research and innovation, as well as migration have been stepped up. Switzerland and Poland also work closely together within the framework of international bodies.
Economic relations between the two countries are developing rapidly. Poland is Switzerland’s most important export destination in Central Europe. The volume of trade amounted to CHF 5.1 billion in 2019.
Since 2003, there has been a Swiss Business Hub at the Swiss Embassy in Warsaw. Poland belongs to the same voting constituency as Switzerland at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Switzerland and Poland are working together on more than 400 projects under Horizon 2020.
Researchers and artists from Poland can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU
Poland was one of the beneficiary countries of the Swiss contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU. A total of CHF 489 million was approved for 58 projects – the biggest bilateral cooperation programme Switzerland has ever supported. Over 40% of the contribution was used for the structurally weaker regions in the south-east of the country. Approximately one quarter of the funds were used to support projects to promote energy efficiency and renewable energies in both the private and public sectors (buildings and infrastructures). Poland will also be among the beneficiaries of Switzerland's second contribution.
The Pro Helvetia Foundation was represented in Poland from 1994 to 2013, first with a branch office in Krakow and from 2005 in Warsaw. The Warsaw office was closed in 2013, and Pro Helvetia has since carried out its activities in Poland from its head office in Zurich.
Rapperswil Castle has housed a Polish Museum since 1870, with an interruption between 1945 and 1954. There are also Polish cultural associations in Morges and Solothurn.
Swiss nationals in Poland
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 897 Swiss nationals were living in Poland at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland has had an embassy in Warsaw since 1921. Poland had already opened an embassy in Switzerland in 1919. To mark the 100 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Poland, Ueli Maurer, then President of the Swiss Confederation, made an official visit to Warsaw in 2019.
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. They had been enlisted in the French army and entered Swiss territory in order to escape the German advance.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, relations between Switzerland and Poland have become closer, being based on long-standing mutual friendship.
During the transition phase of the 1990s, the bulk of Switzerland’s assistance to Eastern Europe went to Poland. The contributions amounted to CHF 264 million.