Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain close political relations. Switzerland is committed to strengthening good governance, justice, the market economy and health services in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Bosnia and Herzegovina
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
To ensure lasting stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland is supporting the reform efforts of the country's authorities at all levels – public administration, government organisations, cantons and communes. Switzerland is committed to strengthening good governance, the judicial system, the market economy and health services in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also supports local efforts to deal with the legacy of the 1992–95 war.
Switzerland is an important economic partner for Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of trade and direct investment, although from the Swiss point of view the amount of trade and investment remains relatively modest. The large Bosnian diaspora community in Switzerland and the remittances its members send home are an important aspect of the economic relations between the two countries.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Bosnia and Herzegovina can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Switzerland also implements two programmes to promote research in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland (SCOPES), and the
- Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP).
Both programmes promote collaboration between Swiss and Bosnian researchers.
Switzerland is active in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of Operation Althea, the multinational peacebuilding force of the European Union (EUFOR). A maximum of 20 members of the Swiss Armed Forces participate at any one time in this mission. In addition, a maximum of six military personnel are part of mobile training teams ensuring the safe and secure storage of ammunition and weapons stockpiles.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a priority country for Switzerland's cooperation programme in Eastern Europe. Switzerland's cooperation aims to ensure political stability in the country and to implement much-needed structural economic and political reforms at the national level. To this end, Switzerland has contributed over CHF 500 million to projects, programmes and multilateral activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the last 20 years. Switzerland supports the Bosnian people's wish to join the EU.
The cooperation office in Sarajevo also implements projects of the State Secretariat for Migration as part of the bilateral migration partnership between Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pro Helvetia and the Swiss embassy have been very active in the cultural field in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the war. Switzerland has provided support since 1996 for the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF), the most important in south-eastern Europe, and funds the awards for the best documentary and best film about human rights.
Swiss nationals in Bosnia and Herzegovina
According to statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 681 Swiss nationals were living in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 2017.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina have maintained diplomatic relations since 1992. Switzerland strengthened the good image it has in Bosnia and Herzegovina by accepting many refugees during the 1992–95 war and through its subsequent support for reconstruction in the country.
The Swiss government, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS), awards various postgraduate scholarships to foreign scholars and researchers.
Scholars from Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to apply for University scholarships for PhDs, postdoctoral research and a research in the realm of their PhD or their medical specialization.