Minister Erjavec hosts Swiss Federal Councillor Burkhalter
Ljubljana, Brdo pri Kranju, 15 November 2016 – Minister Erjavec today hosted an official visit by the Swiss Federal Councillor responsible for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Didier Burkhalter. They discussed relations between Slovenia and Switzerland, with an emphasis on strengthening business cooperation, multilateral cooperation, cooperation between the European Union and Switzerland, migration, and security.
Minister Erjavec and Federal Councillor Burkhalter agreed that Slovenia and Switzerland enjoy excellent and friendly relations, with cooperation in various fields developing successfully. Furthermore, they have established good cooperation at the multilateral level, notably in numerous human rights protection projects. Erjavec and Burkhalter exchanged views on cooperation between the European Union and Switzerland, with Burkhalter expressing his expectation that the Union would show understanding of Switzerland’s key positions. There is great interest in promoting continued close cooperation between the Union and Switzerland, said Erjavec, expressing the hope that the two sides would be able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Minister Erjavec touched on Switzerland’s support for the work of ITF Enhancing Human Security through donations totalling 5.7 million US dollars, requesting the country’s continued close cooperation with the foundation. Erjavec and Burkhalter discussed strengthened cooperation in the Alpine region. Due to their shared interests, the two countries form part of the Alpine macroregion, and are contracting parties to the Alpine Convention. Erjavec expressed support for Burkhalter’s proposal for enhanced cooperation on vocational education and training programmes and apprenticeship, which are essential for economic development and are well organised in Switzerland.
Switzerland is a major trading partner of Slovenia and the second most important investor, noted Erjavec. Forty Swiss companies operate in Slovenia, employing 10,000 people. After the meeting, Minister Erjavec said that new opportunities for stronger cooperation are arising and that trade between Slovenia and Switzerland, currently totalling 760 million euros, could increase to one billion euros. Slovenia is very attractive to the Swiss business sector in several fields, such as high technology, ecology, and pharmacy, said Erjavec, also noting that Switzerland is the EU’s third major business partner, following the United States and China.