Bilateral framework agreement signed with Croatia

Article, 30.06.2015

On 30 June 2015 Switzerland and Croatia signed a bilateral framework agreement regulating the implementation of Switzerland's CHF 45 million enlargement contribution to Croatia. The projects supported by the enlargement contribution aim to reduce economic and social disparities in Croatia.

The Swiss ambassador to Croatia, Stefan Estermann, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Branko Grčić.
The Swiss ambassador to Croatia, Stefan Estermann, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Branko Grčić. ©


The framework agreement sets out the objectives and size of the contribution as well as the most important implementation provisions. With the signing of the agreement, Switzerland has formally approved project ideas that were previously proposed by Croatia and discussed by the two countries. The Croatian partners will now develop the project ideas further. Switzerland must give its final approval for all projects in Croatia by 31 May 2017 at the latest. 


Reintegration of landmine victims 

Several water supply and waste water collection and treatment projects will be supported. In addition, both countries are seeking to cooperate in the areas of research and vocational training. Furthermore, as in other partner countries, a fund for non-governmental organisations (NGO fund) and a partnership fund are planned with a view to strengthening civil society. In addition, Switzerland aims to support Croatia's demining efforts in regions scarred by the war and in particular to reintegrate landmine victims into society. 

Croatia became the 28th member state of the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013. In order to reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU, Switzerland decided to independently allocate CHF 45 million to fund various bilateral cooperation projects in Croatia. With the enlargement contribution Switzerland strengthens its economic and political ties with Croatia.


Legal basis: Eastern Europe Cooperation Act 

Through the enlargement contribution, Switzerland helps reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU. Since 2007, Switzerland has contributed CHF 1 billion to projects and programmes in the ten states that joined the EU in May 2004. Bulgaria and Romania, which joined in 2007, will be supported with an additional CHF 257 million. The legal basis of the enlargement contribution is the Federal Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe, which was approved by the Swiss people on 26 November 2006. The parliament has approved the framework credit based on this legal foundation.

Key facts concerning Croatia

Croatia covers an area one and a half times that of Switzerland and has a population of approximately 4.25 million. There are very marked disparities in the country: economic and social gaps exist between the capital Zagreb and the coastal regions that attract foreign tourists, on the one hand, and the other structurally weak, and in parts still war-scarred, regions on the other. Croatia’s economy grew steadily after the war of independence from 1991 to 1995, but suffered a massive downturn as a result of the international economic crisis in 2009. Since then it has been in recession. Per capita GDP adjusted for purchasing power in Croatia stands at approximately 62 per cent of the EU average. Unemployment, which has increased strongly since 2008, was 17 per cent at the end of 2014, with about half of young people under 25 out of work.