In the talks between President Widmer-Schlumpf and President Gašparovič at the Lohn manor house in Kehrsatz, the European integration policy in particular was discussed, as well as the euro crisis and its impact on economic growth and stability in Europe. In addition, bilateral topics such as economic and trade relations, cooperation with Eastern European states and cooperation in the area of taxation were discussed. The Protocol of Amendment to the revised double taxation agreement (DTA) between Switzerland and the Slovak Republic which was signed in February 2011 entered into force on 8 August 2012. The revised DTA contains provisions on the exchange of information which were negotiated in line with the parameters of the Federal Council and are in accordance with the OECD standard.
The President of the Swiss Confederation also informed her Slovak counterpart about Switzerland's chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014 and Switzerland's application for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2023/2024. Furthermore, current international affairs were discussed.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, who was also present during the talks between the President of the Swiss Confederation and the Slovak President, also received the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák. Here, the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) discussed European policy and in particular Switzerland's proposals on relations with the European Union (EU) relating to institutional issues. Other topics concerned the Slovak neighbourhood policy and Switzerland's enlargement contribution and its implementation to lead to mutual satisfaction. On the international level, the situation in North Africa and Syria was discussed among other things. On the multilateral level, Switzerland's OSCE chairmanship and its candidacy as host state for the Green Climate Fund in Geneva were discussed.
The Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA), Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, met his counterpart, the Minister for Economic Affairs Tomáš Malatinský. Their talks focused on the global financial and economic situation and the economic ties between the two countries. The smooth implementation of the total of 23 projects within the scope of the enlargement contribution constitutes a considerable contribution to strengthening joint relations.
Bilateral trade between Switzerland and Slovakia has partially recovered after the crisis-induced slump in 2009. In 2011, imports grew by 31% to CHF 669 million; in contrast exports dropped by 2% to CHF 497 million. By July 2012, imports had increased by 79% to CHF 606 million whereas exports had dropped by 9% to CHF 277 million.
A further topic of discussion was innovation: Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann and Minister Malatinský underscored the importance of cross-border cooperation for players from academia and business circles for whom innovation is relevant. In doing so, they referred to the Switzerland-Slovakia Innovation Forum organised within the scope of the official visit of President Gašparovič. With the goal of learning from each other, experts from Slovakia and Switzerland discussed best practices in the area of innovation policy in Bern. President Gašparovič and Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann spoke at the forum.
Address for enquiries:
Brigitte Hauser-Süess, Head of FDF Communications,
tel. 079 292 08 77, firstname.lastname@example.org
tel. 031 322 31 53
Matthias Kägi, FDEA Press Officer
tel. 031 322 20 34, email@example.com