President Alain Berset visits Romania, next holder of EU Council presidency

Press release, 01.11.2018

On Thursday, 1 November, President Berset paid a visit to Romania. The visit follows the tradition of establishing contact with the holder of the next EU Council presidency. Romania will assume the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time in January. In addition to bilateral issues, the official talks with Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis focused primarily on European policy issues.

Discussions covered the ongoing negotiations on an institutional agreement between Switzerland and the EU. The Romanian side set out the aims of the next EU Council presidency. Mr Berset welcomed the intention to make the process of integrating further Balkan states in the EU a priority of the Romanian EU Council presidency, thereby continuing the efforts of this year's Council presidency holders (Bulgaria and Austria). Mr Berset also congratulated Romania on the centenary of Romania's unification.

Both sides commended bilateral relations between the two countries, which have deepened in recent years as a result of the cooperation as part of Switzerland's enlargement contribution. The issue of Switzerland's second contribution to selected EU member states, including Romania, was also raised. In September, the Federal Council submitted the relevant dispatch to Parliament. After the official talks with Mr Iohannis, Mr Berset will meet Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă in the afternoon.

Switzerland and Romania enjoy friendly relations across a broad range of political areas, which have been further strengthened in recent years. Mr Berset's visit is the first bilateral presidential visit since 2011. In 2017 trade in goods between the two countries reached an all-time high following significant growth in 2016 and 2017. Switzerland is one of the most important investor countries in Romania; at the end of 2016 it was the eighth largest foreign direct investor.

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