Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union supports the transition to rule of law, democracy and a social market economy by means of knowledge transfer and assistance in problem solving. Since 2008, Switzerland also contributes to the reduction of social and economic disparities in the enlarged European Union. Transition aid and the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU are implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation(SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Swiss Cooperation contributes to the strengthening of democratic institutions, good governance and stable economic framework conditions in former communist countries. Its primary activities include:
- the support of social, judicial and economic reforms;
- vocational training for youth and the unemployed;
- the improvement of basic infrastructure, particularly in the health and water sectors;
- rural development.
Roughly 53% of the means are invested in Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo). About 47% of the budget goes to projects implemented in former Soviet republics (Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Ukraine and Moldova).
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
The Federal Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe (in effect since 1 June 2007) enables Switzerland to contribute to the reduction of social and economic disparities in the enlarged European Union. Eight of the ten new partner countries are former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia. During a period of ten years Switzerland is investing a total of one billion Swiss francs in the environment, infrastructure, education and economic development of these countries. The bilateral framework agreements with the EU-10 countries were signed in Berne on 20 December 2007. In 2010 an additional CHF 257 million was extended to Rumania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, as part of the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU.