Ignazio Cassis receives Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček in Bern: bilateral and European relations on the agenda

Press release, 05.10.2020

On 6 October Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Tomáš Petříček at the Lohn Manor. The meeting focused on the strength of Swiss-Czech bilateral relations and included discussions on possible areas for further collaboration. Mr Cassis and Mr Petříček also addressed a number of European and international issues. Switzerland and the Czech Republic maintain excellent economic relations and enjoy close cultural and social ties.

At the meeting, Mr Cassis and Mr Petříček highlighted the extensive relations between both countries. The Czech Republic is one of Switzerland’s main trading partners among the new EU member states and is an important destination for Swiss investment in Central Europe. The two countries also share strong and diverse cultural ties. "Our bilateral relations have grown steadily over the years and become ever closer," said Cassis. The Swiss and Czech foreign ministers discussed areas in which their collaboration could be further enhanced, such as in the context of the United Nations and the 2030 Agenda.

European policy, COVID-19, multilateralism

The two ministers also exchanged views on Switzerland's European policy. Mr Cassis underlined the importance of maintaining good and stable Swiss-EU relations and explained the upcoming decisions on European policy. Another topic of discussion was both countries' post-Brexit relationship with the United Kingdom.

During lunch, the two ministers discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They each commended the high level of cooperation between the two countries, such as in the repatriation of their respective citizens, and the overall level of cooperation in Europe. They agreed on the continued importance of close dialogue with all European countries.

Finally Mr Cassis and Mr Petříček discussed the situation in Belarus and other international issues of geostrategic concern. Mr Cassis stressed Switzerland's commitment to a strong and effective multilateral system. Switzerland also has a major interest in a rules-based international order and a robust and future-oriented UN.

Special relationship since the Prague Spring

The excellent political and economic ties between Switzerland and the Czech Republic are underpinned by close human relationships. Around 13,000 Czechoslovak refugees came to Switzerland following the Prague Spring of 1968 and built a new life for themselves.

Trade between the two countries in 2019 was worth approximately CHF 4.6 billion. There are some 120 Swiss companies operating in the Czech Republic, employing around 28,000 people.


Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Czech Republic


Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs