Since 2007, Switzerland has contributed CHF 1.302 billion to numerous projects to reduce the economic and social disparities within the enlarged EU. The partner states of the enlargement contribution are the thirteen countries that have acceded to the EU since 2004. All projects under the enlargement contribution for the EU10 (those countries that joined the EU in 2004) were successfully completed by the end of 2017 following a ten-year planning and implementation phase. In Romania and Bulgaria the implementation phase will continue until December 2019; in Croatia it will continue until the end of 2024.
Switzerland’s contribution is not part of the EU’s cohesion policy. Implementation is carried out bilaterally between Switzerland and the partner state in question. Switzerland’s contribution is an investment in Europe’s security, stability and prosperity and is thus in Switzerland’s national interest. By focusing on vocational education and training and on migration, Switzerland can help to address challenges Europe is currently facing – challenges which also affect our country.
On 28 September 2018, the Federal Council approved the dispatch on a second contribution to selected EU member states in response to broadly positive feedback received at the consultation stage. The Federal Council aims to leverage Swiss expertise to reduce economic and social disparities and to manage migration better in selected EU member states. In 2017, the Federal Council already set the two priorities for Switzerland’s contribution: vocational education and training, and migration. As with the enlargement contribution, a total of CHF 1.302 billion has been earmarked by the Federal Council for the second contribution. CHF 1.102 billion has been earmarked to strengthen cohesion within the EU-13 countries, in particular in the priority area of vocational education and training. CHF 200 million will be used for migration-related measures, including in EU countries outside the EU-13 which are particularly affected by migration movements. The final decision to approve the corresponding framework credits lies with Parliament.
The legal basis for the Swiss contribution in the area of cohesion is the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe, which was renewed by Parliament on 30 September 2016 and has been in force since 1 June 2017. The legal basis for the migration focus of the second Swiss contribution is the Asylum Act.