Official working visit of Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann in Brussels

Press release, 03.11.2017

Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), is attending the annual meeting of the ministers of economic affairs and of finance of EFTA and the EU (ECOFIN) in Brussels on 7 November 2017. He is also meeting two Vice Presidents of the European Commission, Andrus Ansip and Jyrki Katainen.

During their annual meeting, the EFTA and EU ministers of economic affairs and of finance will discuss current topics in economic policy. This year’s focus will be on the question of how to broaden economic growth so that the entire population can benefit from it. The close economic ties between the EFTA countries (Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and the EU form an important basis for growth and account for a regular exchange regarding current challenges.

At the meeting, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann will discuss the economic situation of Switzerland and emphasise the importance of employment and a flexible labour market for inclusive economic growth. This applies, in particular, in view of the current challenges posed by digitisation and demographic developments. Other topics include the latest economic policy developments, bilateral relations between Switzerland and the EU, the challenges posed arising from Brexit and current financial regulatory objectives.

Meeting with Vice President Ansip
At the talk with Andrus Ansip, who is responsible for the digital single market, the Federal Councillor will have the opportunity to strengthen the exchange, which began last spring at his first meeting with the Vice President of the European Commission. Among the topics are digitisation strategies in Switzerland and the EU, especially the advancement of the digital single market. Both sides are engaging at numerous political levels to ensure that citizens and the economic sector are able to optimally use the opportunities provided by digitisation.

Meeting with Vice President Katainen
Jyrki Katainen, the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for employment, growth, investments and competitiveness, and Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann will discuss the economic situation of the EU and the growth policies implemented by both parties. The EU is Switzerland’s primary trading partner. Economic developments in the EU therefore have a strong impact on Swiss foreign trade. The broad-based current economic growth in the EU and its solid growth of investments give reason to take a positive outlook. However, the ongoing negotiations regarding the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU as well as digitisation pose challenges to economic policy that affect both parties.

Press conference
A media doorstep meeting will be held prior to the ECOFIN meeting. To round off his visit, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann will also hold a short press conference at the Mission of Switzerland to the EU. Correspondents wishing to attend are requested to register their interest with the press office of the Mission.

Address for enquiries

Noé Blancpain, Head of Information EAER, Tel. +41 78 748 61 63,


Secretariat-General EAER