The political, economic and cultural contacts are dynamic and intensive. As a member of the European Union (EU), Romania is one of the beneficiaries of Switzerland's contribution to reduce economic and social disparities in the expanded EU.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Since the end of the communist regime, Switzerland has committed itself to supporting the transition towards democracy and a market economy.
At the economic level, Swiss entrepreneurs are increasingly looking to invest in Romania.
At the energy policy level, the important reserves of raw materials in Romania (gas and oil) and its strategic position on the supply route from Central Asia make it a country of major importance.
Romania and Switzerland are linked by an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement as well as a double taxation agreement. Since Romania joined the EU, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU also apply to Romania (subject to restrictions until June 2016in the sphere of free movement of persons).
Switzerland is a relatively important investor in Romania. With total capital amounting to 1.9 billion EUR as of 31 December 2013, it ranks 7th among foreign investors.
The trade balance is favourable to Switzerland. In 2015, exports from Switzerland to Romania amounted to 663 million CHF and imports rose to 560 million CHF. 793 million CHF and imports from Romania to Switzerland rose to almost 507 million CHF.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Through the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Switzerland provides financial aid to the "New European College" in Bucharest. This is an independent Romanian institute for advanced study in the humanities and social sciences.
Scholars and artists from Rumania can apply to the SERI for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
A trainee agreement enables young people from Rumania to spend a limited period of time in Switzerland in order to acquire additional professional experience and to hone their language skills.
Peacebuilding and human security
Since July 2007 Romania and Switzerland have been linked by an agreement on cooperation in combating terrorism and organised crime. Consisting of representatives from the two countries, the working group on countering human trafficking was established in January 2012. On the basis of the abovementioned agreement, a Romanian police attaché has been stationed at the Romanian Embassy in Bern in order to improve police cooperation between the two countries.
Swiss contribution to EU enlargement
As Romania and Bulgaria became EU members in 2007, the Federal Council has given the green light to 257 million CHF in aid for the two countries over ten years.
The global agreement was signed on 7 September 2010 and the programme of cooperation was launched on 25 March 2011. The Swiss contribution to Romania amounts to CHF 181 million. Switzerland has approved 7 thematic funds and 19 projects aimed at reducing the economic and social disparities until the end of the commitment period in December 2014. All projects must be completed by December 2019.
The implementation of projects is being monitored in Bucharest by a Swiss Contribution Office, which is in close contact with the Romanian authority responsible for coordination of the Swiss contribution.
Swiss nationals in Rumania
In December 2015, there were 488 Swiss citizens living in Romania, about half of them have dual nationality.
The Swiss Embassy, Pro Helvetia and the Competence Centre for Cultural Foreign Policy of the Confederation (CCC) are the principal actors in Swiss cultural life in Romania. In 2011, the celebrations of the centenary of diplomatic relations between the two countries contributed to developing cooperation between a variety of Swiss and Romanian institutions.
History of bilateral relations
Official relations between Romania and Switzerland were only established after the independence of Romania, recognised by Switzerland on 10 June 1880. A trade agreement between the two countries was signed in 1886, prompting numerous Swiss companies to set up in Romania in the 19th century. The Romanian consulate in Bern, which opened in 1905, was transformed into a legation in 1911. The Federal Council opened the Swiss legation in Bucharest in 1916. The signing of clearing agreements in the 1930s benefited Swiss imports.
The communist period refreshed relations. A crisis affected them in 1955, when there was an attempt by Romanians in exile to seize the Romanian Embassy in Bern. The incident triggered a press campaign against Switzerland and tighter restrictions on Romanians travelling to Switzerland. In 1962, the status of the Swiss legation was raised to the rank of embassy.
The end of the Cold War, followed by the events of December 1989, gave fresh impetus to relations with Switzerland.