Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Estonia

Political relations between Switzerland and Estonia are excellent. This is partly due to the help that Switzerland gave Estonia in the area of security and defence in the early years following independence. High-level bilateral visits have also strengthened the relationship. Estonia is one of the countries to benefit from the Swiss contribution to the enlarged EU.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Switzerland and Estonia maintain regular bilateral contact. In October 2010, former Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey visited Tallinn, and in December 2011 Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves made a visit to Switzerland. In September 2013, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter in Bern, while Mr Burkhalter reciprocated with a visit to Tallinn on 25 August 2014, as then-President of the Swiss Confederation.

Bilateral treaties

Economic cooperation

Economic relations between the two countries are on an upward trend. The volume of trade amounted to approximately CHF 200 million in 2014. Since Estonia joined the EU in 2004, bilateral trade has been based on the free trade agreement between Switzerland and the EU. Swiss investment in Estonia has risen steadily over the past ten years, and some 90 Swiss firms have invested in the country.

Trade promotion (Switzerland Global Enterprise)

Cooperation in education and training

Scholars and artists from Estonia can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU

As an EU member state, Estonia is one of the countries to benefit from the Swiss contribution to reducing economic and social disparities within the enlarged European Union. Between 2012 and 2017, Switzerland will support 18 projects with total funding of CHF 40 million.

Estonia – A partner country for Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement

Swiss nationals in Estonia

At the end of 2014, there were 53 Swiss citizens living in Estonia.

History of bilateral relations

Consular relations between the two countries date back to 1919. The Federal Council recognised Estonia’s independence in 1921. A trade agreement was concluded in 1925. Bilateral relations were re-established in 1991, having been interrupted in 1940 by the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. This was never recognised by Switzerland.

In the 1990s, Switzerland provided Estonia with some CHF 22 million of assistance as part of its programme of cooperation with Eastern Europe. This was focused mainly on environmental protection projects.

The Swiss embassy in Riga is also accredited for Estonia, while the Estonian embassy in Brussels covers Switzerland.

Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (D/F/I): Estonia