Since 2007 Switzerland has been participating in projects designed to help reduce economic and social disparities within the European Union (EU). Switzerland decides itself which projects to support and negotiates this directly with the partner countries. Switzerland’s engagement is an investment in security, stability and prosperity in Europe that also consolidates its economic and political relations with the EU and individual member states.
Swiss contribution to selected EU member states
On 26 November 2006, the Swiss population voted in favour of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe. In doing so, they agreed to help dismantle economic and social disparities in the EU. Despite high rates of growth, prosperity is unevenly distributed in the EU member states that have joined since 2004, and the gap with other EU member states remains comparably wide.
Switzerland's enlargement contribution projects for the EU-10 (those countries that joined the EU in 2004) were successfully completed by the end of 2017 following a ten-year implementation phase. The independent evaluation published in 2016 confirmed that the vast majority of the projects achieved their objectives, in some cases even exceeding the expected results. The projects have made a positive contribution to promoting social and economic development in the partner countries and have made a lasting impact. In Bulgaria and Romania, the implementation phase ended in December 2019, likewise with positive results. The enlargement contribution in Croatia runs until the end of 2024.
Second Swiss contribution
On 3 December 2019, Parliament approved a second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states in the form of two framework credits for cohesion and migration. The goal of Switzerland's contributions is to reduce economic and social disparities and to manage migration better in selected EU member states.
Parliament also decided that no commitments would be entered into with respect to the framework credits if and for as long as the EU continues to adopt discriminatory measures against Switzerland. This means that Switzerland will not sign bilateral agreements with partner countries to implement the second Swiss contribution until the EU removes all discriminatory measures. The Federal Council views the EU's refusal to extend Swiss stock exchange equivalence as discriminatory.
The second contribution matches the value of the enlargement contribution, i.e. CHF 1.302 billion, or an average of CHF 130 million a year over a ten-year period.
- Switzerland has earmarked CHF 1.102 billion for the 13 states that have joined the EU since 2004: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (EU-13). The contribution is intended to strengthen cohesion, with a particular focus on the priority area of vocational education and training. The funding may also be invested in other areas such as research and innovation, welfare and healthcare systems, public safety, civic involvement and transparency, environmental and climate protection and SME financing, in line with the priorities set by the partner countries and Switzerland.
- CHF 200 million will be used for migration-related measures in countries which are particularly affected by migration movements. The contribution can therefore also benefit EU member states outside the EU-13, and will be used by Switzerland to support measures to improve the management of migratory movements.