Switzerland and Romania enjoy good, friendly relations. The two countries engage actively in political dialogue, trade and cultural exchanges. As an EU member state, Romania was one of the beneficiaries of the Swiss contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in an enlarged EU.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Romania
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Romania maintain good diplomatic relations. Bilateral contacts have intensified in recent years: President Klaus Werner Iohannis visited Switzerland in September 2021, for example, while in early November 2018, President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset was received by President Klaus Werner Iohannis on a state visit to Romania.
Since the end of the Communist regime, Switzerland has been committed to supporting Romania's transition to democracy and the market economy. Between 2011 and 2019, close cooperation within the framework of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU was a key priority for bilateral relations.
Switzerland and Romania have entered into double taxation and investment promotion and protection agreements. Since Romania acceded to the EU, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU have also applied to Romania.
Romania and Switzerland have excellent trade relations.
Romania is Switzerland's most important trading partner in south-eastern Europe. In 2019, Switzerland was the seventh largest foreign investor in Romania, with Swiss investments totalling EUR 4.3 billion. In 2020, the volume of trade between Switzerland and Romania was CHF 2.2 billion.
At an economic level, Romania is increasingly attracting investment from Swiss companies.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Through the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Switzerland supports the New European College in Bucharest, an independent institute for advanced studies in social sciences and the humanities.
Researchers and artists who are citizens of Romania can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. A trainee exchange agreement enables young people from Romania to acquire additional professional experience and hone their language skills in Switzerland.
Peacebuilding and human security
Police and judicial cooperation is a key component of bilateral relations: in 2007 Romania and Switzerland entered into a cooperation agreement on tackling terrorism and organised crime. A working group on taking action against human trafficking was established in January 2012, comprising representatives from both countries. On the basis of the agreement, a Romanian police attaché is now based at the Romanian embassy in Bern with the object of improving police cooperation between the two countries.
Swiss contribution to EU enlargement
Romania was one of the countries to benefit from Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU. Until 2019, Switzerland contributed CHF 181 million to facilitate Romania's successful implementation of 17 projects and seven thematic funds. The majority of objectives initially set were achieved and in some projects even exceeded. Romania is also a beneficiary of the second Swiss contribution.
Swiss institutions manage the thematic funds which cover key areas such as security, civil society, partnerships, integrating the Roma community, healthcare, and research and scholarships.
Swiss nationals in Rumania
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad there were 589 Swiss citizens living in Romania at the end of 2020.
The Swiss Embassy, Pro Helvetia and the Confederation's Cultural Foreign Policy Centre are key players in relation to Swiss culture in Romania. In 2011, celebrations marking the centenary of diplomatic relations between the two countries helped to increase cooperation between a range of Swiss and Romanian organisations.
History of bilateral relations
Official relations between Romania and Switzerland were established once Romania declared its independence, which was recognised by Switzerland on 10 June 1880. The two countries signed a trade agreement, prompting many Swiss companies to set up business in Romania in the 19th century.
The Romanian consulate in Bern, which opened in 1905, was converted into a legation in 1911. The Federal Council opened the Swiss legation in Bucharest in 1916. Clearing agreements were signed in the 1930s which benefited Swiss imports.
Relations between Switzerland and Romania cooled during the communist period. In 1955 they were plunged into crisis when Romanian exiles attempted to seize the Romanian embassy in Bern. The incident provoked a press campaign against Switzerland and resulted in tighter travel rules for Romanians entering Switzerland. In 1962, the Swiss legation was upgraded to an embassy.
Swiss-Romanian relations were revived following the events of December 1989 and the end of the Cold War.