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Sebastian Kurz: EU and Switzerland to Intensify Relations Further

Published: November 22, 2018; 22:20 · (Vindobona)

Federal Chancellor Kurz held a working meeting with Swiss President Alain Berset in Bern. The meeting focused on, among other topics, an assessment of Brexit, the Western Balkans, the nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia and the priorities of the Austrian EU Presidency.

Sebastian Kurz (left) at a working meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset (right) on 9 January 2018. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Dragan Tatic

"Switzerland and Austria have close bilateral relations. We are pursuing very similar foreign policy positions, for example when it comes to maintaining multilateralism," said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz following his working meeting with the incumbent Swiss President, Alain Berset, in Bern.

Switzerland is Austria's fourth-largest trading partner, and the two countries maintain a very intensive economic exchange.

Switzerland's cooperation with the EU is also very close and is currently regulated on the basis of individual treaties.

The Institutional Framework Agreement currently being negotiated is intended to ensure greater legal certainty and clarity and to make economic relations more efficient.

"I hope that the close relations between the European Union and Switzerland can be further developed by concluding a framework agreement," said Sebastian Kurz.

With regard to the Austrian EU Presidency, the President of the Swiss Confederation praised Austria's contribution to bringing the Western Balkan states closer to the EU.

Federal President Berset and Federal Chancellor Kurz agreed in reaffirming the great interest of their two countries in the stability and economic development of this region.

The Federal Chancellor closely monitors the debate on the UN migration pact in Switzerland and other European countries. A final decision is still pending in Switzerland, and the Swiss Federal Council intends to sign the document with reservations.