The talks coincided with World Day against the Death Penalty – an area where Luxembourg and Switzerland are strongly active and cooperate closely. Generally, Switzerland and Luxembourg maintain very close, friendly relations, shaped by the many parallels between the two countries.
The talks, which were held in Von Wattenwyl House, centred on aspects of European policy. Didier Burkhalter informed his counterpart, Jean Asselborn, about relations between Switzerland and the EU and current developments in European policy. In addition, the talks covered the impact of Brexit and aspects of EU integration policy. Asselborn, Burkhalter and Sommaruga discussed current challenges in migration foreign policy, in particular the causes of migration today and the routes taken by the migrants. They also discussed possible reforms of the Dublin system with a view to a fairer distribution of asylum seekers within Europe.
In the area of bilateral relations, the talks focused on economic and fiscal relations. European security architecture, the role of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the situation in Eastern Europe and Turkey were the main points of the discussion on international issues. The talks also covered the situation in the Middle East and possible measures to counter violent extremism as well as the fight against terrorism. In the area of multilateral relations, cooperation within the framework of the United Nations and possible mutual support for international candidatures presented by the two countries were discussed.
Mr Asselborn’s visit coincided with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Luxembourg’s first diplomatic representation in Bern. It also marked 50 years since Luxembourg sent its first ambassador to Switzerland. To celebrate these anniversaries, prior to the talks, the Embassy of Luxembourg in Bern held a ceremony followed by a reception to which Jean Asselborn and Didier Burkhalter were invited.
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