Bern, Press release, 19.05.2010

Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey flew to Chisinau in the Republic of Moldova on Wednesday, where she will take part in a meeting of Swiss ambassadors from countries in South-East and East Europe. On Wednesday evening she held talks with Iurie Leanca, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the Republic of Moldova. During the meeting a repatriation agreement and an agreement on visa facilitation were signed.

The talks with foreign minister Iurie Leanca in the Moldovan capital Chisinau focused on stock-taking and on the further development of relations between Switzerland and Moldavia. Switzerland is the third largest donor country in the Republic of Moldova,  annually investing about 6.2 million CHF in projects in the areas of water and health. Switzerland is represented by a cooperation office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Chisinau.

The signing of a visa facilitation agreement and of a repatriation agreement marks the strengthening of cooperation in the area of migration. Visa facilitations will promote personal, cultural and economic exchanges between the two states. This agreement means that Switzerland is bringing its short-term visa issuance policy into line with that of other Schengen states.

The repatriation agreement ensures that Moldovan nationals illicitly residing in Switzerland can be repatriated to Moldova in an orderly manner and on the basis of a simplified procedure. The new agreement adapts cooperation to current standards, superseding the previous agreement of 2003.

Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey announced that from 25 May 2010 onwards citizens of the Republic of Moldova will be able to apply for visas in the visa centre of the Hungarian embassy in Chisinau and so will no longer need to travel to Kiev to obtain a visa for Switzerland. The Hungarian visa centre also issues visas for Austria and Denmark.

On Thursday Mrs Calmy-Rey will take part in the regional conference of Swiss ambassadors from South-East and East European countries. The subject of the meeting is Switzerland's relations to and activities in countries in the region that are not members of the EU. The central issue will be the effectiveness of Switzerland's foreign policy instruments in comparison with those of other partners and actors in the region, starting with the EU.  

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