Foreign and security policy – a targeted partnership

Flags of various states and international organisations
Flags of various states and international organisations © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Switzerland and the European Union (EU) pursue very similar foreign policy objectives: both promote the peaceful co-existence of nations, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, the alleviation of poverty and the preservation of the environment. For this reason, Switzerland and the EU foster a close and substantive dialogue, working in partnership to achieve their objectives on important issues such as the European neighborhood, regions further afield, or in multilateral forums.

Swiss participation in EU peace promotion missions

In addition to the foreign policy dialogue, Switzerland safeguards its interests solidarily and concretely through its participation in the EU’s civilian and military peace promotion missions in the framework of the EU’s common security and defence policy. Swiss civilian experts participate in the EU rule of law mission, EULEX Kosovo, as well as in the EU Capacity Building Mission in order to train local security forces in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) and members of the Swiss Armed Forces have been seconded to Operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Switzerland has also participated, in a civilian capacity, in the mission of military education in Mali (EUTM Mali) and has seconded a counsellor to the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine). Further possibilities for participating in EU missions are being studied on an ongoing basis. In addition, Switzerland regularly provides the EU with personnel for EU election observer missions throughout the world. Furthermore, Switzerland detaches experts to the European External Action Service on a regular basis.

European Defence Agency

In 2012, Switzerland and the European Defence Agency (EDA) signed a Framework of Cooperation in the field of armaments cooperation. The framework, which is not legally binding, sets out the conditions for cooperation with the EDA. It enables Switzerland to detect armaments policy developments at an early stage and to have access to multilateral armaments cooperation in Europe, primarily in the areas of research and development, as well as procurement and maintenance of armaments. Switzerland is free to decide what information it wants to share within the scope of this framework, and in which projects and programmes it wishes to participate.