President Ueli Maurer and President Grabar-Kitarović commended relations between the two countries, which have benefitted from cooperation through Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU. Of the twelve projects in place, one has been concluded while the remainder will be completed by the end of 2024. The projects are primarily in the areas of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, vocational education and training, and research cooperation.
Mr Maurer set out the state of relations between Switzerland and the European Union and reiterated the Federal Council’s aim to find a solution to a number of open points and to then conclude the institutional agreement. The two presidents also discussed Croatia’s plans for the EU Council presidency in the first half of 2020. Switzerland welcomes Croatia’s efforts to encourage the integration of further western Balkan states into the EU, as the prospect of joining the EU can contribute to stability in the region.
A further matter that was addressed was Protocol III of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) of 1 January 2017 extending the freedom of movement to Croatia. Mr Maurer noted that the application of Protocol III was generally unproblematic, but that the Federal Council had decided in December 2018 to extend the transitional provisions. The provisions will allow the gradual opening of access to the labour market between the two countries in the coming years.
With regard to international issues, discussions focused on the situation in the Western Balkans. President Grabar-Kitarović outlined the ‘Three Seas Initiative’, of which Croatia is a co-initiator, which brings together twelve central European countries between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas with the aim of stimulating economic development through closer cooperation on infrastructure, energy and digital connectivity.
President Grabar-Kitarović rounded off her official visit with a meeting with National Council president Marina Carobbio Guscetti in Parliament.
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