What is the Swiss contribution to selected EU member states and how will it be implemented? Key questions and answers.
What is the Swiss contribution to selected EU member states?
The second Swiss contribution is a key part of Switzerland's European policy, helping to foster cohesion and stability in Europe as well as consolidate and develop bilateral relations with partner countries. The CHF 1.302 billion contribution runs until 2029 and will be used to support the states that joined the EU after 2004 (the EU-13) or countries facing major migration flows. The second contribution aims to reduce economic and social disparities in Europe and promote measures to manage migration.
It is divided into two framework credits: CHF 1.0469 billion for cohesion-related activities managed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and CHF 190 million for migration measures managed by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). The remaining CHF 65.1 million, representing 5% of the total funds, has been allocated to the Federal Administration's internal expenses.
What is the second Swiss contribution expected to achieve?
Switzerland works to reduce disparities in Europe and help its partner countries manage migration, with a focus on:
Fostering economic growth and social partnership, reducing (youth) unemployment
Switzerland seeks to promote a sustainable and inclusive business climate in its partner countries. It is also committed to reducing unemployment, particularly among young people. To this end, Switzerland supports vocational training, research and innovation as well as access to investment.
Environment and climate change mitigation
These second contribution projects aim to advance environmental protection, reduce harmful emissions and promote more effective natural resources management. The goal is to improve people's health and living conditions, and drive economic development.
Scaling up healthcare and other public services
The second Swiss contribution is also being used to scale up healthcare and other public services. Here the focus is on the elderly, children, minorities and socially disadvantaged groups.
Civic engagement and transparency
In these projects, citizens are encouraged to get involved in political process and take ownership. This helps bolster public services and democratic structures.
Migration management and support for integration, increasing public safety
In this area, Switzerland is helping partner countries manage migration, integrate foreign nationals and increase public safety through enhanced cooperation between the police, emergency services and judicial system.
How will the second contribution be implemented?
Swiss contribution funds do not go into the EU's budget but directly into the projects and programmes of the partner countries, which sign bilateral implementation agreements with Switzerland setting out country-specific priorities. These agreements provide the framework for the programmes and projects that are then carried out in close cooperation between Switzerland and the partner countries.
The approach is based on the principles of the rule of law and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Swiss engagement should be transparent, sustainable and results-oriented; gender equality and the inclusion of socially disadvantaged groups should be factored in; and activities should be geared to local needs and backed up by the value added from Swiss expertise.
Who benefits from the second contribution?
The amount a partner country receives from the cohesion framework credit depends on the size and average income of its population. Poland, which has the most inhabitants among the EU-13, will receive the largest contribution totalling CHF 320.1 million. The smallest contribution amounting to CHF 3.56 million has been allocated to Malta.
- Bulgaria (CHF 92.5 million)
- Croatia (CHF 45.7 million)
- Cyprus (CHF 5.2 million)
- Czech Republic (CHF 76.9 million)
- Estonia (CHF 26 million)
- Hungary (CHF 87.6 million)
- Latvia (CHF 40.4 million)
- Lithuania (CHF 45.2 million)
- Malta (CHF 3.56 million)
- Poland (CHF 320.1 million)
- Romania (CHF 221.5 million)
- Slovakia (CHF 44.2 million)
- Slovenia (CHF 16 million)
The migration framework credit is not limited to the EU-13 but will also be used to support other EU states facing particularly high migratory pressure. Countries selected for the initial programme period are Cyprus, Greece and Italy, based on criteria such as irregular migration and the number of asylum applications as well as rejected applications. Switzerland is also creating a rapid response fund to help deal with unexpected major migration flows.
- Implementation agreements for migration (CHF 161 million)
- Rapid response fund (CHF 25 million)
- Swiss expertise and partnership fund (CHF 4 million)
What are the migration management priorities under the second contribution?
Switzerland is supporting projects aimed at dealing with asylum-related challenges such as managing irregular migration, particularly secondary migration i.e. onward travel within the Schengen area after an asylum application has been filed. This includes measures to strengthen existing structures and harmonise standards, for example.
Swiss support is also available for programmes to build shelters and other infrastructure for migrants and refugees, particularly children and people in need of special protection measures. An additional component is knowledge-sharing with partner countries on voluntary returns and the development of related projects.
How does the second contribution benefit Switzerland?
Switzerland is a highly interconnected country in the heart of Europe. Positive economic developments in the EU-13 and sustainable growth in partner countries promote prosperity for all, including Switzerland. New partnerships and opportunities for cooperation are created and the exchange of knowledge and experience is also consolidated.
Particularly in today's unstable geopolitical climate, Switzerland's second contribution is sending out a signal of its solidarity as well as its commitment to peace, security and stability in Europe. It is helping create new prospects for people in its partner countries and strengthen their democratic structures.
The second Swiss contribution is also a key part of Switzerland's European policy, helping to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations with its partner countries and the EU as a whole.
What is the statutory basis for the second Swiss contribution?
The second contribution is based on the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe (SR 974.1) and the Asylum Act (SR 142.31) as well as the federal decrees on the two framework credits.