Switzerland’s relations with its northern neighbour Germany are more intensive and diverse than with any other country in the world, and in particular with the directly bordering Länder Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. It has been established that there is still large potential for developing economic relations, especially with Bavaria. Diverse and friendly contacts have existed at the political, academic and cultural levels for a considerable time. This is evidenced not only by the Bavarian Foreign Representation in Zurich, which was opened in December 2010 to support Bavarian companies established in Switzerland, but also by the 6,000 Swiss nationals living in Bavaria.
At noon today, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, received the Bavarian Minister-President and President of the German Bundesrat, Horst Seehofer, in Bern for a courtesy visit. Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA) participated in the working lunch hosted for Mr Seehofer by the Swiss President following the meeting. In addition, the Bavarian Minister-President held talks with Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), and with the President of the Council of States, Hans Altherr.
Discussions took place on Swiss policy on Europe, in particular on bilateral and regional relations with Germany and Bavaria, including economic and fiscal policy and the implementation of measures concerning the free movement of persons and the withholding agreement tax that the two countries initialled last year. Transport issues such as the rail link between Zurich and Munich were also discussed. Other themes included cross-border cooperation between Switzerland and Germany in the energy sector as well as in the context of the Internationale Bodensee Konferenz and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Alpenländer (Arge Alp).
The Minister-President of Bavaria will end his stay in Switzerland with a lecture at the Europa Institute of the University of Zurich.
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