The President of the Swiss Confederation and Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter, has travelled to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the morning of 18 February. Their meeting has been followed by a working lunch with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

During this working visit, Mr Burkhalter has raised bilateral matters and issues concerning Switzerland's policy on the EU, specifically in the context of the Swiss people's vote on 9 February to change immigration policy.

As chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Mr Burkhalter has also presented Switzerland's priorities for 2014.

This was Mr Burkhalter's second visit to Berlin since he was appointed head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Main European partner

Germany is Switzerland's main trading partner, accounting for one third of Swiss imports. Germany is also the sixth largest direct investor in Switzerland (CHF 28.2 billion at the end of 2011) and its companies employ some 100,000 people in Switzerland.

Switzerland's relations with Germany are extremely close. The two countries have signed some 200 political agreements and have a very wide range of exchanges in the fields of research, education and culture. In 2013, more than 290,000 Germans were living in Switzerland and some 80,715 Swiss nationals were living in Germany.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Germany

Discussion in Paris

Following his visit to Berlin Didier Burkhalter has travelled on to Paris, where he has met the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius on the same evening. President Burkhalter has informed Mr Fabius about the outcome of the vote on the mass immigration initiative and the Federal Council’s first steps towards implementing the new article in the Constitution.

France is Switzerland’s third most important trading partner, accounting for 7.8% of foreign trade in 2011. Switzerland ranked seventh as a foreign investor in France at the end of 2010.

Swiss firms employ some 160,000 persons. French direct investments in the Confederation amounted to CHF 42 billion at the end of 2010. Swiss-based French firms, over 90% of them small and medium enterprises (SMEs), employ some 44,000 people.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–France



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