The talks, which were held in the Von Wattenwyl House, were intended to foster the continuation of the good relations between the two countries and to discuss the situation in Cyprus. In addition, a draft bilateral agreement was presented on the importation of cultural goods and their return. The discussion continued with an exchange of views on European policy, in particular issues concerning Schengen cooperation, as well as on the world economic crisis and current international issues such as conflict areas in the Caucasus and the Middle East. The meeting gave the opportunity to strengthen contacts between the two countries.
The draft bilateral agreement on cultural property will enable Switzerland and Cyprus to reinforce their common efforts to protect the world’s cultural heritage. One of the main concerns of Switzerland’s European policy is implementation of the existing agreements with the EU. Mrs Calmy-Rey pointed out that the Swiss electorate’s overwhelming vote in favour of the continuation of the Agreement on the free movement of persons and its extension to Bulgaria and Romania in February was a further affirmation of Switzerland’s bilateral approach. In the framework of its contribution to EU enlargement, Switzerland is making a payment of CHF 5.9 million to Cyprus.
Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey also informed her counterpart, who is a former European Commissioner, about the situation in which Switzerland finds itself as a result of the economic crisis and the measures that have been taken so far to overcome it. She also explained Switzerland’s expectations with regard to a non-discriminatory framework for financial centres. She pointed out that the Federal Council has decided to adopt the standard for judicial cooperation in fiscal matters of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and to integrate this standard in double taxation agreements with other countries.
Micheline Calmy-Rey was pleased to note that relations are very good between Cyprus and Switzerland, which is one of the leading foreign investors in the island. Switzerland is providing Cyprus with support for a project involving the creation of a centre for rapprochement between the two communities in Cyprus and is also committed to projects in the areas of environmental monitoring and vocational training.
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