State secretary attends final conference in Czechia

Web article, 14.06.2017

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch was in Czechia from 2 to 4 May 2017. During her visit she opened the final conference of the Swiss-Czech cooperation programme, which comes to an end in mid-June. She also visited four projects which were supported through Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU.

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch congratulating Pardubice city government representatives.
The state secretary visited the new bus station in Pardubice. Public transport was a key part of the cooperation programme. SECO

In mid-June, the 10-year implementation period of the Swiss enlargement contribution to the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004 will come to an end. For this reason, final conferences are being held in most of these ten countries.

Around 300 participants attended the final conference in Czechia, where a number of projects were presented and a positive assessment of Swiss-Czech cooperation was drawn. The state secretary highlighted how the Swiss contribution had helped to reduce economic and social imbalances, but had also strengthened relations and exchanges between the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The Czech partners expressed their thanks for the support received from Switzerland.

The final conference took place in Ostrava. Ostrava is the third-largest city in Czechia and is situated in the east of the country, close to the Polish border. Ostrava was an appropriate venue for the final conference of the Swiss-Czech cooperation programme: three projects were implemented directly in the city itself, while much of the remaining Swiss support was focused on the neighbouring eastern regions of Moravia-Silesia, Olomouc and Zlín. Over 50% of the enlargement contribution to the Czech Republic benefited these regions either directly or indirectly.

Ms Ineichen-Fleisch also visited four projects that promote environmental protection and public safety. In Pardubice and Ostrava, she visited three projects aimed at improving public transport infrastructure, their common goal being to increase the comfort and safety of passengers using public transport, at the same time contributing to more environmentally friendly mobility. Pardubice modernised its bus station with the Swiss contribution. In Ostrava, renovated tram stops increase the safety of passengers and a newly created trolleybus line closes a gap in the urban transport network. During her visit to St Elisabeth’s retirement home in Ostrava, Ms Ineichen-Fleisch was also able to see for herself how Switzerland’s contribution is supporting the dignity and the therapeutic care of people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.