Swiss President Amherd discusses bilateral relations and the European security situation at Bucharest meeting

Press releases, 07.03.2024

President of the Swiss Confederation, Viola Amherd, concluded her trip to Romania by meeting with Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu on Thursday, 7 March to discuss bilateral relations, European policy issues and the current security situation. On Wednesday Ms Amherd met with President Klaus Iohannis and Finance Minister Marcel Bolos. She also attended the European People’s Party Congress in Bucharest, where her meeting with Maia Sandu, President of the Republic of Moldova, also focused on security issues.

During Ms Amherd’s talks with the Romanian president, prime minister and finance minister, both parties expressed how close and dynamic relations between the two countries had become in recent years. One example is the fact that Romania is now Switzerland’s largest trading partner in South-East Europe. In addition, the implementation programme for the second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states is creating opportunities for Switzerland and Romania to further extend their political and economic cooperation. Switzerland’s contribution is also emblematic of its role as a reliable partner in Europe working for peace, security, stability and shared prosperity. Discussions also touched on cooperation in education and research.

With respect to European policy, Ms Amherd highlighted the positive momentum in relations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU), and explained the steps to be taken now that the Federal Council had approved the draft negotiating mandate on 15 December 2023. The parties also discussed the extension of the Schengen area to include Romania and Bulgaria, beginning with the upcoming step of lifting both countries’ air and sea border controls at the end of March.

Talks on security and peace

The security situation on the European continent, and in particular the Russian war against Ukraine, was central to the discussions. A high-level peace conference is planned to be held in Switzerland this year, aimed at launching the process to facilitate a just and lasting peace in Ukraine. In meetings with the Romanian officials, as well as in bilateral talks held on the side of the European People’s Party Congress, Ms Amherd provided information on the objectives of the conference and the progress of preparation work.

Ms Amherd expressed Switzerland’s solidarity with Ukraine as well as with the Republic of Moldova, which is affected particularly strongly by the Russian war against Ukraine. Bilateral cooperation has intensified as a result, with existing development cooperation now supplemented by a humanitarian programme. Swiss support for the Republic of Moldova has more than doubled compared with the period before February 2022 and now amounts to CHF 425 million. Other topics discussed in Bucharest include the status of multilateralism and Switzerland’s membership of the UN Security Council, which continues until the end of 2024.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Romania

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