The second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states sets out to strengthen cohesion in Europe and supports countries that face exceptional migration challenges. The implementation agreement signed on 22 May in Vilnius marks an important milestone for the new Swiss-Lithuanian Cooperation Programme. An amount of 30 million Swiss francs has been earmarked for improving maternal and child health and wellbeing. The civic engagement programme will receive 10 million francs, and the vocational education programme will be supported with 4.5 million francs.
Assistant Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Ambassador Andrea Studer, also present during the signing, remarked on the occasion that advancing prosperity and cohesion in all of Europe was of utmost importance, especially in the face of the multiple challenges and crises that the continent is confronted with today. Ambassador Martin Michelet stressed his confidence that the mutually beneficial cooperation would help to further strengthen the excellent bilateral relations between Switzerland and Lithuania. During the signing of the framework agreement the Lithuanian Minister of Finance Gintarė Skaistė said: “Switzerland did not doubt Lithuania's determination to become an equal part of the community of Western democracies and since 1992 with its competences, experience, and resources has been contributing to the overall development of our country's well-being. It is encouraging to find common bilateral interests in various areas of public policy”.
Areas of cooperation
The maternal and child health and wellbeing programme will contribute to Lithuania’s health care reform by improving quality and accessibility of maternal, infant and child healthcare and social services in the country with an emphasis on outpatient care. The civic engagement programme will focus on strengthening civic participation in the decision-making process by developing tools aimed in particular at first-time participants – youths, migrants and refugees. Moreover, it seeks to increase the quality of volunteering by developing an organisational standard for quality volunteer management, including development of the e-volunteering activities. The vocational education programme will introduce a validation and recognition system of professional competences acquired in the workplace. It thereby responds to the requirements of the labour market and seeks to enhance the availability of highly skilled professionals.
Second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states
The second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states has a total value of 1.3 billion Swiss francs and is scheduled to run until the end of 2029. On 30 June 2022, Switzerland and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Brussels, specifying key parameters of the contribution, such as the amount, its distribution among the partner countries, thematic priorities and principles for cooperation and implementation.
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