Federal Council delegation meets new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Davos

Press release, 20.01.2020

A delegation of the Federal Council led by President Simonetta Sommaruga today met with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Ms Sommaruga was accompanied at the meeting, which took place during the WEF Annual Meeting, by federal councillors Ignazio Cassis and Karin Keller-Sutter. Talks focused on the state of bilateral relations between Switzerland the EU, particularly with regard to the institutional agreement. They also discussed joint efforts to tackle climate change. Cooperation in the field of migration should be continued.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis shakes hands with the new President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the WEF in Davos.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis meets the new President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen in Davos during the WEF. © Keystone

At her first meeting with the new EU Commission president, President Sommaruga praised the close and far-reaching relations between Switzerland the EU, emphasising the importance of the bilateral path.

Ms Sommaruga confirmed during the talks the Federal Council’s intention of safeguarding and consolidating the bilateral path by concluding an institutional agreement. She stressed that clarifications were still needed with regard to the three unresolved issues and that there was therefore a need for flexibility on the part of the EU in order for both sides to be able to reach acceptable solutions.

With regard to Switzerland’s second contribution to selected EU states, the Swiss delegation stressed that the Federal Assembly’s decision in the winter session of Parliament to approve the contribution was a positive sign. The payment of the contribution is however conditional on the absence of discriminatory measures against Switzerland on the part of the EU.

In that regard, the talks also addressed the amendments to the agreement on technical barriers to trade (MRA) for medical devices. Switzerland expects the EU to be accommodating at least in maintaining the status quo. It is in the interests of both parties to ensure legal certainty for businesses, as well as for patients and the supply of goods. Discussions on this matter will continue with the European Commission.

Talks also addressed the strategies of the EU and Switzerland on climate protection. The EU’s European Green Deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. The Federal Council took the decision that Switzerland should aim to be climate neutral by 2050 prior to the announcement of the European Green Deal.

President Sommaruga and EU Commission president von der Leyen agreed that cooperation and exchanges of views should be intensified at an informal expert level.


Further information:

Dossier: World Economic Forum


Address for enquiries:

Géraldine Eicher, DETEC Press and Information Service, +41 79 211 30 52


Publisher:

Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs