The President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, meets the Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr George W. Vella

Media release, 04.11.2014

Bern, 04.11.2014 - The President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) met the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malta on Tuesday for an official working visit at the Watteville House in Bern. The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of various international and multilateral issues and of the development of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Malta. A memorandum of understanding was signed.

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, and Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella signing a memorandum of understanding at the Von-Wattenwyl-Haus in Bern.
The President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, receiving Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella at the Von-Wattenwyl-Haus in Bern on 4 November 2014, where they signed a memorandum of understanding. © FDFA

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Malta are intensifying. During Mr Vella’s working visit, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malta was signed. This instrument will facilitate regular dialogue, particularly on European policy and issues relating to the Mediterranean region. It is also intended to strengthen cooperation with Malta in regional and international organisations through regular exchanges.

During their meeting, Mr Burkhalter and Mr Vella discussed various matters related to bilateral relations. They agreed that cooperation in the areas of the economy and education and training could be stepped up further. In Malta Switzerland supports the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC), which is a widely recognised centre of excellence in this field. Mr Burkhalter and Mr Vella also spoke about projects funded by Switzerland to reduce economic and social disparities in the new European Union member states. Malta has received CHF 5 million in this context.

At the international level, Mr Burkhalter spoke with Mr Vella about Switzerland’s policy on the EU, which Malta joined in 2004. He noted that Switzerland and the EU had a mutual interest in maintaining and consolidating the bilateral path. Mr Burkhalter and Mr Vella also spoke about migration-related issues and recent developments in several countries in North Africa and the Middle East, and underscored the precarious humanitarian situation in Syria and neighbouring countries. At the multilateral level, Mr Burkhalter and Mr Vella discussed several matters related to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), whose chairmanship Switzerland holds this year. Specifically, they discussed the meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council to be held in Basel next December.