Press releases, 18.11.2022

During an official visit to Malta, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis met on Friday 18 November 2022 with Foreign Minister Ian Borg. Their talks focused on bilateral relations, Switzerland's and Malta's non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council, and cooperation in the digital domain. Mr Cassis also signed the agreement with Malta on the implementation of the second Swiss contribution. On the margins of this meeting, Mr Cassis also participated in the Digital Diplomacy and Governance Summit.

President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis and Foreign Minister Ian Borg sign an agreement.
President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis and Foreign Minister Ian Borg sign an agreement. © Government of Malta

"The agreement on the implementation of the second Swiss contribution is an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations between Switzerland and Malta," said Cassis at the signing ceremony with Malta's Foreign Minister Ian Borg. This agreement is part of Switzerland's second contribution to selected EU member states. It sets out the thematic priorities for collaboration and provides for the funding of projects totalling CHF 3.56 million until 2029. Swiss-Maltese collaboration will mainly focus on cardiovascular health.

Relations between Switzerland and the EU were also on the agenda. Mr Cassis emphasised that Switzerland is currently engaged in in-depth exploratory talks with the EU, and that the Federal Council's primary goal is to stabilise and further develop the bilateral approach with the EU.

Switzerland and Malta in the UN Security Council

Mr Cassis and Mr Borg also discussed their countries' term on the UN Security Council. Like Switzerland, Malta will have a non-permanent seat on the Council for the period 2023-24. This makes Malta a key partner in Switzerland's commitment to peace and security. The two countries are cooperating on efforts to counter the impact of climate change as a driver of conflict and promote the role of women as actors for peace.

Digital technology in the service of diplomacy

Mr Cassis and Mr Borg praised the cooperation between Switzerland and Malta in the digital field. In 2002, the two countries co-founded Diplo, a Geneva-based NGO that aims to support small states and developing countries in building their digital diplomacy capacities. Diplo hosts the Geneva Internet Platform, a multi-stakeholder forum for debate on internet governance.

On the margins of the official talks, Mr Cassis also participated in the Summit on Digital Diplomacy and Governance, marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Diplo. In his address, Mr Cassis emphasised the key role of anticipatory science diplomacy, especially the work of the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Antipator (GESDA): "We must step up diplomatic efforts to rise to the opportunities and challenges presented by technological developments. But we can only do this if we anticipate future trends. That's precisely what science diplomacy must be capable of accomplishing." Switzerland has defined digitalisation and science diplomacy as central pillars of its foreign policy strategy.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Malta
Swiss contribution to selected EU member states
Second Swiss contribution: issues and players
Speech of President Cassis to Digital Summit
Geneva Internet Platform
Coherent foreign policy in the digital space

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