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On 19 September 2022, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis will attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London. Mr Cassis will then travel on to New York to represent Switzerland at the high-level opening week of the 77th UN General Assembly.
Der Gemischte Ausschuss des Freihandelsabkommens Schweiz-EU hat am 8. September 2022 beschlossen, die Referenzpreise für landwirtschaftliche Rohstoffe auf den 1. Oktober 2022 anzupassen. Diese Preise dienen zur Berechnung der Einfuhrzölle für bestimmte landwirtschaftliche Verarbeitungserzeugnisse aus der EU. Auf das gleiche Datum werden auch die Zölle auf Importe dieser Produkte aus Drittländern aktualisiert.
State Secretary Livia Leu received the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Stefano Sannino, for political consultations in Bern on 13 September. They focused on the European and global crisis caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, its impact on European security architecture, and cooperation between Switzerland and the EU.
At the invitation of Alois, Hereditary Prince and Regent of Liechtenstein, the annual meeting of the six German-speaking heads of state took place in Vaduz from 12 to 13 September. The talks focused on current domestic and foreign policy issues, in particular the war in Ukraine. Philanthropy and its benefits for society were also discussed as a thematic focus of the meeting.
The Federal Council approved the bilateral implementation agreements for the Swiss contribution to cohesion in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Poland on 31 August 2022. The agreements provide the basis for Switzerland's cooperation programmes in those areas where its support will add value. Now that the agreements have been approved, Switzerland can move into the operational stage.
State Secretary Martina Hirayama attended the informal meeting of ministers responsible for research and innovation from the EU member states in Prague (Czech Republic) on 21 and 22 July. The event, which takes place twice a year, focused on two different policy debates, namely synergies in the funding of research and innovation in Europe, and possible measures in the area of research and innovation in response to Russia's military aggression in Ukraine. State Secretary Hirayama also held bilateral talks with the representatives from Romania, Finland, Norway and Lithuania.
On 19 July, Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, held official talks in Athens with the Minister for Development and Investment, Adonis Georgiadis, and with the Minister for Education and Religious Affairs, Niki Kerameus. She also visited the excavation site of the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece (ESAG), which has received federal support since 2008.
Die Auswirkungen der Covid-Krise auf den Arbeitsmarkt sind weitgehend überwunden. Der Wiederaufschwung hat in verschiedenen Wirtschaftszweigen Arbeitskräfteengpässe nach sich gezogen. Die Zuwanderung von Arbeitskräften aus dem Ausland hilft mit, diese zu entschärfen. Die Personenfreizügigkeit bleibt zur bedarfsgerechten Deckung der Arbeitskräftenachfrage wichtig, wie der diesjährige Bericht des Observatoriums zum Freizügigkeitsabkommen unter anderem am Beispiel des Berufsfelds der IT zeigt.
Switzerland and the EU signed earlier today in Brussels a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states. State Secretary Livia Leu, who was in Brussels for exploratory talks, signed the MoU on behalf of Switzerland. The signing of this MOU marks another important milestone towards a swift implementation of the contribution.
On 28 June, Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, opened the SwissCore Annual Event in Brussels. During her visit, the State Secretary also held talks with Flemish Minister Jo Brouns and representatives of the Faroe Islands.
Martina Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, attended the Eureka Ministerial Conference in Lisbon (Portugal) on 22 June. Eureka is an initiative of 47 countries aimed at fostering cross-border cooperation projects in market-oriented research and development independent of the EU’s framework programmes. State Secretary Hirayama also took the opportunity to talk with German education minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, UK science minister George Freeman and South Korean deputy trade minister Soosung Hwang.
In order to implement the OECD/G20 project on taxing the digital economy, the Federal Council is proposing a supplementary tax. Based on the results of the consultation, the Confederation should receive 25% of the receipts from the supplementary tax and use the funds for the benefit of Switzerland as a business location. The remaining 75% will go to the cantons and communes.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis met today in Bern with France's Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian. The talks centred on French-Swiss cooperation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral relations and European policy. Current international affairs were also discussed.
Ministerial session of the Council of Europe: Ignazio Cassis stresses the importance of close cooperation between states
"In these unusual times, close cooperation between our states is the only adequate response to the difficulties we are currently facing," stated Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the 130th session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE). Under Greece's chairmanship, the foreign ministers at the session adopted the 'Athens Declaration', reaffirming their existing commitments to respond effectively to public health crises while respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law – the CoE's founding values. Key representatives also met to celebrate 70 years of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The 25th meeting of the Joint Committee for Research and Innovation between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) / Euratom took place on 27 October. Discussions focused on implementation of the existing agreement between Switzerland and the EU on Horizon 2020, the Euratom programme and the international fusion reactor ITER.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 23rd meeting of the Swiss – EU Joint Committee on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) was held today by video conference. The delegations from Switzerland and from the European Union and its member states discussed various matters relating to the AFMP’s application and development. The two partners stressed the importance of their close cooperation in managing the public health crisis.
Official visit to Norway: Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis travels to Oslo for talks with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide
On 15 October 2020 Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, met in Oslo with Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide. Mr Cassis and Ms Eriksen Søreide praised the excellent relations between Switzerland and Norway. In addition to bilateral relations, their talks focused in particular on the two countries' relations with the EU and their close cooperation within EFTA and the UN.
Federal Council appoints Livia Leu as new State Secretary and approves adjustments to the structure of the FDFA
Livia Leu, who is currently Switzerland's ambassador in Paris, will assume the leadership of the Directorate for European Affairs (DEA) with immediate effect and will take up the post of chief negotiator for negotiations with the EU. She will receive the title of State Secretary. The Federal Council took this decision at its meeting on 14 October 2020. It also agreed to adjustments to the structure of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). From 1 January, the European Affairs and Political Affairs directorates will be merged under a single State Secretariat headed by Livia Leu as the FDFA State Secretary.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will visit Norway on 15 October and Denmark on 15 and 16 October. In Oslo, Mr Cassis will meet with Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide. In Copenhagen, he will meet with the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Rasmus Prehn, and Minister for Finance Nicolai Wammen for bilateral talks.
Ignazio Cassis receives Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček in Bern: bilateral and European relations on the agenda
On 6 October Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Tomáš Petříček at the Lohn Manor. The meeting focused on the strength of Swiss-Czech bilateral relations and included discussions on possible areas for further collaboration. Mr Cassis and Mr Petříček also addressed a number of European and international issues. Switzerland and the Czech Republic maintain excellent economic relations and enjoy close cultural and social ties.
On 1 October Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis participated as official speaker at the investiture of the captains regent of San Marino, a traditional ceremony that has been handed down unaltered since 1243. In his speech, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) restated the importance of multilateralism and international Geneva as a platform for discussion on digitalisation. The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding committing them to work together more closely in the multilateral arena.
Switzerland responded immediately with emergency aid following a fire which devastated the refugee transit camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Over several weeks, Swiss Humanitarian Aid focused on access to safe drinking water, medical support in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and disaster risk reduction. It also dispatched five tonnes of relief supplies to the facility. Switzerland is ending its emergency aid activities on Wednesday 30 September, having restored access to clean drinking water for 10,000 people. It will continue its support in the form of medium and long-term assistance.
On 1 October, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will take part in the investiture of the two captains regent, the joint heads of state of the Republic of San Marino. The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs was invited as official speaker at the ceremony. The official visit will also provide an opportunity to discuss bilateral and international issues.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis holds official working meeting with Foreign Minister Katrin Eggenberger in Vaduz
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, met on 25 September 2020 with Liechtenstein's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture Katrin Eggenberger during an official visit to the Principality of Liechtenstein. The two foreign ministers discussed cross-border and bilateral relations as well as European and international issues. That evening, Mr Ignazio Cassis will give a speech on Swiss foreign policy to a group of business leaders. Mr Ignazio Cassis also met with H.S.H. Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein.
Other news (33)
The Federal Council is to further relax entry restrictions in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions will be lifted in step with the reopening of the economy. From 8 June, the cantons will begin processing applications from workers from the EU/EFTA member states. In addition, Swiss companies will be allowed to employ highly skilled workers from third countries if this is in the public interest, or if they are urgently required. To benefit the domestic workforce, companies will again be required to give notification of job vacancies, a measure that was temporarily suspended during the lockdown. Lastly, the Federal Council plans to lift all travel restrictions and re-establish the free movement of persons across the Schengen area no later than 6 July. Border controls with Germany, Austria and France will be lifted as early as 15 June, as previously announced.
Horizon Europe, the EU’s next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, is due to start in 2021. Along with three other European initiatives, Horizon Europe forms the ‘2021–2027 Horizon package’. On 20 May 2020 the Federal Council adopted a dispatch on funding requesting Parliament to approve CHF 6,154 million in funding to secure Switzerland’s participation in the Horizon package. Provided Parliament approves this funding, the Federal Council and the EU will be able to renew their bilateral research agreement and secureSwitzerland’s continued and uninterrupted participation in the Horizon package as an associated state.
Switzerland plans to open all borders with Germany, Austria and France on 15 June 2020, if the epidemiological situation allows. Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter has reached agreement on this move following talks with the interior ministers of these three neighbouring countries. She advised the Federal Council of the agreement at its meeting on 13 May 2020.
Switzerland enjoys close, important and diverse relations with the European Union. They are based on the bilateral approach and influence many aspects of citizens’ lives, both in Switzerland and in the EU.
On Tuesday, 3 September, President Ueli Maurer received Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić at the Bernerhof for a working visit on the fringes of Swiss Digital Day. Discussions covered bilateral issues such as business and digital transformation, Serbia’s relations with the European Union, and the situation in the Western Balkans.
Mr Cassis's visit to Greece has mainly been concerned with the situation of refugees and the challenges posed by migration. On Tuesday, the head of the FDFA visited the refugee camp on Samos and today met Nikos Dendias, who was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs this week, and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Switzerland and the EU have been adapting their Direct Insurance Agreement which has existed since 1989 to the new regulatory requirements. The mixed committee with representatives from both sides adopted the changes on 3 July 2018 and brought them into effect. Thereby the agreement is also in line with the future requirements of the Swiss insurance business.
At their first meeting, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian brought the issue of the tax regime at Basel-Mulhouse (EuroAirport) to a conclusion: the agreement regulating Swiss companies operating at EuroAirport will be applicable from next year. The two foreign ministers' working meeting also focused on other bilateral issues, the situation in Europe and Switzerland's policy with regard to the EU.
The Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters and the European Commission held their 2017 Financial Regulatory Dialogue on October 19 in Berne. The Dialogue was co-chaired by Jörg Gasser, State Secretary for International Financial Matters, and Olivier Guersent, European Commission's Director General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. Participants included staff from the European Commission, European Supervisory Authorities, Single Resolution Board, the Swiss federal administration, the Swiss National Bank and the Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority FINMA.
The Swiss authorities will receive a delegation from the European Parliament's PANA Committee on 15 September. The focus of the talks will be the current system and the ongoing work to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and tax offences.
On 23 August, the Federal Council approved the agreements on Switzerland’s participation in the Eurostars-2 and the Active and Assisted Living research and development programmes. This means that Switzerland is once again a full member of both programmes and is co-financed by the EU. The programmes are particularly interesting for research-intensive SMEs looking to enter new European or global markets through cross-border cooperation. Switzerland’s participation in the AAL programme is one of the many measures that form part of the federal government’s Skilled Workers Initiative.
Switzerland and the European Union are preparing to link their emissions trading systems. The Federal Council approved the signing of the corresponding agreement at its meeting of 16 August 2017. The European Commission has also adopted proposals for the signature and ratification of the agreement and has submitted them to the Council of the European Union for approval. The agreement could be signed before the end of this year. Its ratification must then be approved by the Swiss and European parliaments.