Ignazio Cassis receives French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in Bern

Press releases, 16.11.2020

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis met today in Bern with France's Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian. The talks centred on French-Swiss cooperation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral relations and European policy. Current international affairs were also discussed.

Minister Le Drian's visit to Bern follows the visit made by Federal Councillor Cassis to Paris from 9 to 10 March2020, shortly before the height of the COVID-19 crisis. The two ministers expressed their appreciation for the excellent cooperation between France and Switzerland in efforts to counter the pandemic since the spring. They also noted the frequency of high-level contacts between the two countries, stating that both sides intended to continue cooperating in the same spirit.

The Swiss and French foreign ministers also exchanged views on cross-border matters and commended the quality of their bilateral relations. Regarding the European dossier, Mr Cassis informed his French counterpart of the current state of play and next steps.

Among the various international issues also on the agenda, Mr Cassis expressed concerns over the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. He also voiced concern about rising tensions in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean and called on all parties to de-escalate the situation and engage in dialogue.

Mr Le Drian also paid a courtesy visit to President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga in the afternoon.

Extensive Swiss-French relations
The two foreign ministers praised the close relationship between Switzerland and France. Their bilateral relations cover a wide range of areas, with regular discussions at all levels. Regarding the economy, France is Switzerland's fifth largest trading partner. More than 40 percent of trade with France is focused in the border regions. Moreover, Switzerland is France's second-largest source of foreign direct investment.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–France

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs