Protecting the environment

Two workers with measuring instruments in Hungary
Switzerland is helping to improve controls on waste and emissions in Hungary with the aid of mobile instruments for taking measurements and carrying out analyses. © SECO

CHF 479 million of the enlargement contribution is used for environmental protection projects. This includes projects for supporting public transport, drinking water supplies, waste water treatment, energy efficient construction, use of renewable energies and biodiversity.

Switzerland has its own interest in protecting the environment as environmental pollution does not stop at borders. Many of the projects contribute to protecting our climate. The projects to support energy efficient construction and the use of renewable energies in the EU-10 alone reduce annual CO2 emissions by around 70,000 tonnes. To ensure sustainability, Switzerland organises educational trips, seminars and forums as part of the projects where knowledge is exchanged that can be used in the future. The majority of the projects are also infrastructure projects that do not only contribute to protecting the environment, but also reduce health risks, improve living conditions and support economic development. Asbestos removal, for instance, is important in terms of health. The development of the public transport system improves living standards. The use of renewable energies and energy efficient construction reduces electricity and heating costs. Environmental projects thus also provide new future prospects in the partner countries.

First results

First results in target area Protecting the environment. © SECO/SDC

Documents (2)

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The Swiss Enlargement Contribution

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs present an interim balance sheet on the first five years since the approval of the Enlargement Contribution to the new 10 EU-Member States. The projects are to be implemented within another five year period, i.e., by 2017.



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News (29)

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Upgrading public transport in the Czech Republic

A small group of people board a local bus at the new bus station – newly planted trees and green spaces are evidence of the regeneration work done in this area.

15.11.2016 – Article

The Czech city of Beroun is pleased with its new bus station. Local and regional buses now stop directly next to the train station, making the kilometre-long walk from one to the other a thing of the past.  In addition to the much shorter connection time, the project, which was organised in the context of Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU, clearly improves the security of passengers and takes into account the needs of people with disabilities.


Sharp drop in infant mortality in Lithuania

A nurse takes care of an infant in an incubator.

22.08.2016 – Article

Thanks to Swiss support, conditions for newborns and mothers in Lithuania have improved greatly. The infant mortality rate has dropped sharply since the nineties. With its enlargement contribution, Switzerland finances modern medical equipment, energy-efficient renovations and further training in healthcare in 27 hospitals.


Wood-generated heat and electricity in Poland

The head of the Lebork district congratulates the city's mayor on the successful completion of the plant and hands him a congratulatory message.

29.06.2016 – Article

Lebork has completed the construction of a heat and power cogeneration plant on schedule and connected it to the city's district heating network. The plant now provides 40% of Lebork's energy needs for hot water and heating. At the same time it generates electricity for the local electricity network.


Parliamentary delegation visits projects in Hungary

Delegation with mobile protection dam

04.05.2016 – Article

A delegation of Swiss MPs visited two projects from the Swiss-Hungarian cooperation programme in April 2016. Representatives from the Hungarian authorities showed their visitors how they use the measurement and analysis equipment and the protection dams co-financed by Switzerland.  


Basel Trams for Sofia

Old tram in the Bulgarian capital Sofia

10.12.2015 – Article

Most of the trams in the Bulgarian capital Sofia date back to Soviet times and so need replacing. As Basel is renewing its fleet of trams, the Basel transport operators have 28 modern and well maintained trams that are no longer needed. The cost of sending these trams to Bulgaria is being met by the enlargement contribution.


Successful end to energy projects in Slovenia

Simonetta Sommaruga with Janez Fajfar, mayor of Bled, Alenka Smerkolj, Minister for Development and Cohesion, and Rok Šimenc, Director of BSC Kranj, at the wrap-up event for the REAAL project.

30.09.2015 – Article

Slovenia received CHF 22 million as part of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU. Almost half of this was devoted to two projects relating to renewable energies and sustainable energy use.  The projects raised awareness of these issues among around 5,000 teachers and students, and 41 schools are now heated using renewable energies. The successful end of the project to promote environmentally friendly energy for the Slovenian Alps was celebrated on 16 September 2015 in the presence of President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga.


Wastewater infrastructure: a priority of the enlargement contribution to Slovakia

An excavator digging a trench for sewerage pipes.

04.02.2015 – Article

Funding the wastewater infrastructure is a priority of Switzerland's enlargement contribution to Slovakia. Switzerland is supporting the construction and expansion of six wastewater treatment plants. In addition, a total of 55 kilometres of sewers are being funded. Switzerland's investment contribution amounts to approximately CHF 27 million. Some 10,000 people in nine municipalities will benefit from these investments.


Federal Council opens consultation on the continuation of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe

17.12.2014 – Media release
The Federal Council has opened the consultation on the continuation of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe (Eastern Europe Cooperation Act). The current act is still valid until the end of May 2017. A timely prolongation should enable the seamless continuation of cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The consultation will last until 31 March 2015.


End of commitment period for enlargement contribution to Bulgaria and Romania

A man standing in front of a machine using a remote control.

08.12.2014 – Media release
The commitment period of the enlargement contribution for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, ended on 7 December. In all, 13 thematic funds and 28 projects totalling CHF 257 million were approved. The Swiss commitment aims to eradicate social and economic disparities in the enlarged European Union (EU).


Czech Republic: Selected improvements to the tram system in Ostrava

Tram stop in Ostrava

14.10.2014 – Article

On 26 September 2014, a project was inaugurated in Ostrava – the third-largest city in the Czech Republic – in which selected improvements were made to the city's tram network to enhance the service and level of comfort of public transport. The project was financed by the Swiss contribution to the enlarged European Union. This support made it possible to improve the management of the tram lines and passenger safety.


Breath-taking and waterproof: environmental monitoring in Estonia

Researchers with echo-sounder on the Estonian research vessel "Salme".

30.07.2014 – Local news

Thanks to a Swiss contribution totalling CHF 8.5 million, Estonian laboratories and environmental monitoring stations are able to procure modern equipment and train their staff. During project visits, Estonian experts demonstrated their ability to reliably monitor air and water quality across large areas with their new equipment.


Swiss heat pumps for the Julian Alps

Heating plant Aubrugg

06.06.2014 – Media release

Switzerland is working in Slovenia within the framework of its enlargement contribution on two infrastructure projects in the field of energy. The realisation of such projects has led on the one hand to the building of new infrastructure – for example new solar panels, heat pumps or biomass boilers – and on the other to the creation of one single platform through which Swiss firms can enter the Slovenian market and forge contacts with local firms more easily. Switzerland is thus actively promoting the transfer of knowledge in the area of energy efficiency and fostering greater cooperation between Swiss and Slovenian project partners.

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The Swiss Enlargement Contribution

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs present an interim balance sheet on the first five years since the approval of the Enlargement Contribution to the new 10 EU-Member States. The projects are to be implemented within another five year period, i.e., by 2017.


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