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Bern, Press release, 16.06.2009

Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), travelled to Budapest today to meet her new Hungarian counterpart, Péter Balázs, for an official working visit. The focus of their talks was on bilateral relations and co-operation between the two countries in international organisations, European co-operation and current international issues. A declaration of intent was also signed during this visit.

The two foreign ministers stated that bilateral relations between Switzerland and Hungary are both close and trouble-free. Numerous contacts have been established at the political, economic, cultural and human levels. The declaration of intent that was signed on the occasion of this visit is intended to create a framework for strengthening co-operation between the foreign ministries of Switzerland and Hungary, and is also a clear indication of the friendly relations between the two countries.  

Until the beginning of the international economic and finance crisis last year, trade between the two countries had been constantly growing. In the period from 2000 to 2007, Swiss exports to Hungary doubled from 657 million to 1,210 million Swiss francs. As of the end of 2007, investments by Swiss companies totalled 1.8 billion Swiss francs and led to the creation of around 29,000 jobs in Hungary. 

The Hungarian minister of foreign affairs thanked for Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement. Switzerland is financing projects over a 5-year period worth a total of 130.7 million Swiss francs. These projects are primarily in the areas of security, stability, support for reforms, environmental protection, infrastructure, promotion of the private sector, and education and research.

Mrs Calmy-Rey informed Mr Balázs about Switzerland’s relations with the EU. At the same time she drew his attention to the positive outcome of the referendum on 8 February 2009 concerning the continuation and expansion of the free movement of persons, as well as to Switzerland’s full accession to the Schengen area as of 29 March 2009. She also outlined Switzerland’s positions on various current issues in its relations with the EU. 

In view of the current international situation, the two foreign ministers discussed European security and the situation of the states in the western Balkans. They also mentioned the good co-operation between the two countries within the UN, and Switzerland’s presidency of the Council of Europe from November 2009 until May 2010.

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