Swiss State Secretary Helene Budliger Artieda and Czech Minister of Finance Zbynêk Stanjura signed a bilateral agreement in Prague implementing Switzerland’s second contribution to selected EU Member States. Switzerland is allocating CHF 76.9 million towards a programme in the Czech Republic. This visit underlines Switzerland’s interest in further enhancing its already very good bilateral relations with the Czech Republic.
The new cooperation programme takes into account the current needs of the Czech Republic. It aims to strengthen Swiss-Czech partnerships in areas where Switzerland’s expertise and experience can add value. These areas include research and innovation, migration and integration, healthcare, sustainable tourism and biodiversity protection and conservation. CHF 76.9 million has been earmarked for this purpose.
Tourism and biodiversity
A key focus will be on how to better manage tourist flows in national parks and nature reserves. Some of the parks in the Czech Republic suffer from heavy tourist traffic, which has an impact on the environment. To address this, sustainable and alternative tourism models will be designed and realised with Swiss expertise. This will also help protect biodiversity.
In addition, Switzerland will co-finance and provide expertise for planned reforms in the areas of research infrastructure, home health care and the social and economic integration of migrants.
As part of her trip, Ms Budliger Artieda also met with the Czech Deputy Minister of Trade Edvard Kozusnik. The two discussed ways to further deepen bilateral economic relations. The agenda also included a meeting with Swiss business representatives in the Czech Republic, who commented positively on the investment conditions and growth potential in the country.
With a trade volume of CHF 5.1 billion, the Czech Republic is Switzerland’s second-largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe. According to the Czech National Bank, Switzerland ranks seventh among foreign investors, making up over 4 % of foreign investment, or almost CHF 7 billion. However, the close relations between the two countries go far beyond trade and investment: they also enjoy close ties in the areas of research and education.
The second Swiss contribution to selected EU states, which is being implemented by SECO, the SDC and SEM, is an investment in Europe’s security, stability and prosperity. Its aim is to strengthen cohesion in Europe by reducing social and economic disparities, and to support countries facing exceptional migration challenges. Thanks to this contribution, Switzerland is also strengthening and deepening its bilateral relations with these countries and with the EU as a whole.