Close, dynamic relations between Switzerland and Croatia

Press release, 08.07.2019

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović paid an official visit to Switzerland on Monday, 8 July. Relations between the two countries are good and this is reflected in the fact that around 30,000 Croatian nationals live in Switzerland and that some 300,000 Swiss tourists visit Croatia every year. Croatia is also Switzerland’s second most important trade partner in southeast Europe; last year, the volume of bilateral trade reached an all-time high. The visit by President Grabar-Kitarović took place prior to Croatia assuming the EU Council presidency for the first time.

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.

Further information:

Switzerland and Croatia

Address for enquiries:

Peter Minder, Head of FDF Communications
Tel. +41 79 437 73 61,


Federal Department of Finance