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Bern, Press release, 14.11.2011

On Monday, 14 November 2011, Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey travelled to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, for an official visit. She was received for talks by Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic, as well as the Speaker of Parliament Luka Bebic. Mrs. Calmy-Rey’s visit was the first meeting at presidential level between the two countries.

The President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, congratulated Croatia on its 20th anniversary of independence. “Independent Croatia and Switzerland are linked by a close, productive partnership”, stated the Swiss President during her visit. She went on to say: “At the same time, however, there still exists a large amount of unexploited potential for further enhancing our bilateral relations, for instance by intensifying political dialogue, fostering economic relations, or reinforcing cooperation within the frame of international organizations.” 

Discussions focused on the common interests in terms of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region of South-Eastern Europe, as well as on the future prospect of strengthened bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Croatia as a future member of the European Union. Last summer, Croatia successfully concluded its EU-accession negotiations and is expected to become the 28th Member State of the EU in the course of 2013.

Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey complimented Croatia on the enormous reform measures that have been undertaken over recent years on the path to EU membership, notably in the domains of the economy, the justice system, and fundamental rights.

She furthermore applauded Croatia’s commitment in the difficult task of building relations between the States of South-Eastern Europe following the war. According to the Swiss President: “The future EU-Member State of Croatia shall continue being able to contribute significantly to fostering stability and development in the entire region.” 

Switzerland established diplomatic relations with the new State of Croatia in 1992 following the declaration of independence made by the former member-Republic of the Federal Peoples’ Republic of Yugoslavia. Switzerland later supported the war-marked Croatia with humanitarian aid, followed by assistance in reconstruction efforts and demining. At present, Switzerland is focussing its commitment primarily on projects pertaining to dealing with the past and the protection of minorities in the entire region. In addition, it is conducting the SCOPES Swiss research programme in which Croatian partners also participate. Today, Croatia holds second place in terms of Swiss trade partners in South-Eastern Europe, although economic relations have significantly declined since 2009 due to the crisis.

Further information:
Adrian Sollberger, Media Spokesperson FDFA, Tel. +41 79 301 62 84

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