Cross-border government commissions and dialogue

A floodlit bridge in the border region between Switzerland, Germany and France against the evening sky.
The Dreiländerbrücke in the border area between Switzerland, Germany and France is symbolic of the close cooperation and ties between the three countries and their neighbouring regions. © Wladyslaw Sojka

Various agreements on cross-border cooperation provide for the creation of intergovernmental commissions for the exchange of information and drafting of recommendations for the national authorities. In addition to this, the FDFA has since 2005 held annual political dialogue sessions on cross-border cooperation with the foreign ministries of France and Italy. 

A number of agreements on cross-border cooperation provide for intergovernmental commissions led by state bodies to regulate regional cross-border issues in the border regions. These are intended to facilitate the exchange of information and, as required, formulate recommendations for the national governments.

One example in this respect is the Franco-German-Swiss Intergovernmental Commission for the promotion of cross-border cooperation in the Upper-Rhine region. This intergovernmental commission brings together regional and national representatives under the leadership of the respective foreign ministries. It deals with a wide range of regional cross-border issues in the border region. It can make recommendations to the national governments but has no decision-making powers. At the regional level, this intergovernmental commission operates as a cross-border body, the Upper Rhine Conference, in which the cantons involved take the lead on behalf of Switzerland.

List of cross-border commissions (de, fr, it)

Cross-border dialogue

Dialogue on cross-border cooperation has been held with both the French and Italian foreign ministries since 2005. These sessions take place once a year, alternating between Switzerland and France or Italy. Although initially conceived as purely bilateral, this cross-border dialogue has gradually also come to include the cantons concerned and neighbouring regions, given the delegation of powers in Switzerland's federal system. The FDFA organises the dialogue sessions for Switzerland. The ambassador for cross-border cooperation heads the Swiss delegation, which includes representatives from the cantons concerned and the federal departments responsible for the various issues.