Following on from his meeting yesterday with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio in the Swiss-Italian border region, Mr Cassis was in Kreuzlingen today for working meetings in the border region with Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs highlighted the good, pragmatic cooperation between the four countries during the crisis, especially the mutual assistance provided in the repatriation of travellers and the successful management of the movement of persons and goods at borders.
The pandemic has made the importance of border regions and their economic and social interconnectedness clearer than ever before: "The crisis has shown how important open borders are, not only for the economy but also for people: it is crucial for them to be able to move freely between countries," said Cassis. He and his interlocutors stressed the value of the hygiene and protection measures that were taken and are still in place to contain the pandemic.
Relations with its border regions are of great economic significance for Switzerland. With a trade volume of CHF 35 billion, Baden-Württemberg is Switzerland's seventh most important trading partner. The volume of trade with the neighbouring Austrian regions of Tyrol and Vorarlberg is also significant, totalling CHF 6 billion.
European policy and international issues were also on the agenda. Mr Cassis briefed his interlocutors on current progress on the European dossier. He highlighted the pragmatic cooperation that was in evidence during the pandemic and noted that such cooperation would prove useful in future discussions between Switzerland and the EU and its member states.
Following his meetings in the Italian border region and on Lake Constance, Mr Cassis will visit the border region with France on 26 June 2020.
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