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Switzerland Approves New Bilateral Treaties With EU Countries

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

26 November 2007


The Swiss Federal Council has approved bilateral framework agreements with eight European Union member states which acceded to the EU in 2004.

The Council approved the treaties with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia at its 21 November meeting. The treaties cover areas of activity and means of implementing Swiss contributions covering EU enlargement in these countries. The first projects are expected to begin at the start of 2008.

Framework agreements with Latvia and Lithuania also stand near completion, and the Swiss government foresees that implementation of the enlargement contributions can begin in all 10 countries at the start of 2008.

Switzerland's enlargement contributions will help to reduce economic and social inequality in the expanded EU. The bilateral framework agreements establish the principle of cooperation and define areas of activity and procedures. Switzerland will be active wherever the greatest need to catch up exists, and where it can offer the most qualified expertise and equipment. This covers the sectors of security, environment/infrastructure, promotion of the private sector, healthcare, and education.

However, the key areas will vary from country to country. Marginal regions with structural weaknesses will benefit most from the Swiss contribution.

The legal basis of the enlargement contributions is the Federal Act on Cooperation with the Countries of Eastern Europe, which Swiss voters approved on 26 November 2006.


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