In these cross-border bodies, the Swiss federal government usually only takes part as an observer or permanent guest and is represented by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). They deal primarily with topics within the cantonal remit such as traffic, environmental protection, infrastructure and disaster risk reduction.
Basel and Geneva: cross-border metropolitan regions
A number of regions around Switzerland cooperate with varying intensity through cross-border bodies. Cooperation in the areas surrounding Basel, Geneva and Lake Constance is long-standing and well-institutionalised. There are also cross-border authorities for the Jura and Lake Geneva regions, the region between Ticino and northern Italy, and the Mont Blanc region.
The many other types of cross-border cooperation include regular meetings and cooperation agreements between the governments of Swiss border cantons and those of neighbouring regions. There are also informal ties, e.g. between chambers of commerce on either side of the border, between chambers of agriculture, employers' associations, trade unions and other organisations.
The Swiss cantons also cooperate with neighbouring regions as part of various Interreg programmes.