Swiss interests

Information board
The local population is informed about projects in Poland financed by Switzerland. © SECO

Switzerland's enlargement Contribution is Switzerland’s contribution to a secure, stable, prosperous and democratic European continent. It is an integral part of Swiss foreign policy in Europe and aims to consolidate Switzerland’s relations with the EU and its member states.

Strengthening relations with the EU

EU enlargement strengthens stability, democracy, prosperity and peace in Europe. With the enlargement contribution, Switzerland is helping to reduce economic and social disparities within the EU and is thus contributing to the costs of EU enlargement in a spirit of solidarity.

With the enlargement contribution, Switzerland is strengthening its bilateral relations not only with the new EU member states but also with the EU as a whole. The contribution to the enlarged EU is part of Switzerland's European policy and strengthens Switzerland's reputation abroad.

Opportunities for the Swiss economy

EU enlargement has brought many benefits to Switzerland and provides considerable export and investment opportunities. Switzerland's engagement improves the visibility of Swiss companies and thus also their chances in public tendering procedures, particularly within the framework of the EU structural funds and the EU Cohesion Fund. A survey revealed that between 2010 and 2015, small and large Swiss companies received over 580 contracts worth around CHF 2 billion from EU-funded projects in the 13 partner countries. As Swiss companies are not required to disclose information to the federal government about contracts they have been awarded, this survey reflects only a fraction of the total number of contracts won by Swiss companies.

In addition, there were direct returns from the enlargement contribution. Around 10% of the amounts granted benefited Swiss companies, associations and universities in return for their products and services in the partner countries. Furthermore, 88 research partnerships made it possible to file 28 new patent applications, thus strengthening Switzerland's position as a centre of research.

Strengthening partnerships

Several hundred new partnerships were established between institutions in the partner countries and Switzerland. These partnerships are extremely valuable for Switzerland's integration into European networks. Cooperation promotes the exchange of knowledge and experience and strengthens Switzerland's position in Europe.

Meeting cross-border challenges

Many of the projects were also in Switzerland's interest in terms of security policy, promoting for example the protection of the external Schengen borders, the fight against organised crime or the integration of migrants. Environmental pollution does not stop at national borders either. Swiss projects helped to remediate contaminated sites, improve air and water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.