Results of country programmes completed in the EU-12

Article, 08.06.2020

Promoting renewable energy, creating employment and strengthening civil society: the final review of Switzerland's enlargement contribution summarises the results of Swiss-backed projects in 12 of the 13 states that joined the EU in 2004. Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, is the only country where projects will continue until 2024.

An elderly man sitting on a sofa in his house with a caregiver.
In the EU-12 countries, funding has been provided for a range of projects that aim to improve the social safety net for people who are elderly, ill or disabled. © SDC

Switzerland has contributed CHF 1.257 billion to the EU-12 countries since 2007, supporting 249 projects and thematic funds which have since been implemented. In the final review of their EU-12 country programmes, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) assess whether Switzerland's contribution has been effective in helping to reduce economic and social disparities in the EU. 


Impressive results

Switzerland’s engagement has achieved tangible results: 

  • In the environmental sector, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies are reducing CO2 emissions into the Earth's atmosphere by about 100,000 tonnes per year.

  • Public transport has become a more attractive alternative and 130,000 tonnes of asbestos have been safely disposed of.

  • Projects to promote economic growth have created over 8,000 jobs.

  • 128 research partnerships between Switzerland and the EU-12 countries have allowed 30 new patents to be registered.

  • Over 100,000 Roma now have better access to health services and educational programmes.

  • To protect public safety, mobile units at the external Schengen border received around 100 special vehicles.

  • To strengthen civil society, Switzerland supported over 900 NGO projects, particularly in the areas of environmental protection and health. 


The future of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU 

With the enlargement contribution, Switzerland is helping to reduce economic and social disparities within the EU and is thus contributing to the costs of EU enlargement in a spirit of solidarity. It is also strengthening its bilateral relations not only with the new EU member states but also with the EU as a whole. The enlargement contribution is part of Switzerland's European policy and strengthens Switzerland's reputation abroad.

On 3 December 2019, Parliament approved the framework credits for a second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states. However, it is concerned about the EU's discrimination against Switzerland with regard to stock exchange equivalence and has therefore decided that no commitments will be entered into with respect to the framework credits if and for as long as the EU continues to adopt discriminatory measures against Switzerland. This means that before any bilateral agreements with partner countries to implement the second contribution can be signed, an assessment as to whether there has been any discriminatory action by the EU will need to be made. If this is found to be the case, the Federal Council will not sign any of these agreements.