The talks were attended on the Swiss side by President Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga and Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter; the Slovak delegation consisted of President Kiska and Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák. The two foreign ministers had a 30-minute, one-to-one meeting before the official talks to discuss European policy issues.
The Slovak delegation led by President Kiska then informed the Swiss side of its goals during the presidency of the Council of the EU until the end of the year, while members of the Federal Council explained the ongoing parliamentary process in Bern regarding the revision of the Foreign Nationals Act and the implementation of Art. 121a of the Federal Constitution on immigration. The delegations reiterated their mutual interest in remaining in contact on the matter.
In view of the closer cooperation sought with Slovakia in the field of education, research and innovation, the Swiss delegation stressed the importance of Horizon 2020, the EU's framework research programme. Research teams from Switzerland and Slovakia have so far worked together on 24 projects within this framework. In the coming months a decision will be taken on whether Switzerland will once again be able to participate in Horizon 2020 as fully associated state.
The talks also touched on other political issues, which the EU and the Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU are having to address, such as the aims of the EU following the UK's decision to leave the European Union. With regard to migration to Europe, the two parties recognised the importance of supporting states on the external border of the Schengen area.
Visit to the ETH Zurich
On Friday morning President Schneider-Ammann and President Kiska visited the Hönggerberg campus of the ETH Zurich. During a tour of the campus they were given in insight into sustainable construction technologies and also met with ETH staff and students from Slovakia.
The visit by the Slovak president to Switzerland is a return visit following the state reception given to President Schneider-Ammann in Slovakia in the second half of June.
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