President Didier Burkhalter pays an official visit to Poland

Bern, Press release, 27.01.2014

On 27 January President Didier Burkhalter will be received in Warsaw by the Polish President Bronisław Komorowski for an official presidential visit, the equivalent of a state visit in Switzerland. The three bilateral talks with President Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski will focus on bilateral relations, European policy, Switzerland's chairmanship of the OSCE, as well as a range of international and multilateral issues. On the morning of 28 January President Burkhalter will travel to Cracow where he will visit projects supported by Switzerland as part of its contribution towards EU enlargement. The afternoon will be set aside for a visit to the concentration camps of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

Two years after President Bronisław Komorowski's visit to Bern, President Didier Burkhalter will pay an official presidential visit to Warsaw on Monday. In protocol terms this is the highest form of visit in Poland, comparable to a state visit in Switzerland. In Warsaw President Burkhalter will be received with military honours before holding bilateral talks with President Bronisław Komorowski. Following a memorial ceremony at the Grave of the Unknown Soldier, the two presidents will jointly open the Swiss-Polish economic forum. Further political meetings that day will include talks with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski. Themes covered during these political discussions will include aspects of bilateral relations such as the contribution towards EU enlargement – through which Switzerland is supporting 58 projects in Poland – European policy, Switzerland's chairmanship of the OSCE, cooperation within the Visegrad Group and the current situation, particularly in the Middle East and in the states of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova). After the political discussions President Burkhalter, in his capacity as chairperson-in-office of the OSCE, will pay a visit to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The Office is the OSCE's centre of expertise for human rights, democratic development, rule of law, tolerance, non-discrimination and election observation.

On 28 January President Burkhalter will travel to Cracow. In the morning he will visit various projects supported by Switzerland as part of its contribution towards reducing economic and social disparities in Europe. In the afternoon President Burkhalter will visit the Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camps where he will be accompanied by a young Swiss woman whose grandfather survived the camp. The visit takes place a day after the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, introduced by the UN in 2005. The Day of Commemoration marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on 27 January 1945.

Last year Switzerland donated CHF 1.2 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation for the preservation of the former concentration camp.


Further information:

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Poland
Swiss enlargement contribution for Poland: Modernisation of border crossings in the Podlaskie voivodeship
Swiss enlargement contribution for Poland: Measures for protecting endangered ecosystems
Swiss enlargement contribution for Poland: Asbestos as a health risk: a challenge for Poland
Swiss enlargement contribution for Poland: Solar energy instead of coal for Poland
Swiss enlargement contribution for Poland: Videos


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