Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will travel to Helsinki on 10 February for a working visit. He will meet Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and the CEO of the Finnish National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA), Janne Känkänen, for talks in the Finnish capital. Mr Parmelin will then travel to Berlin where a meeting with the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, is scheduled to take place on February 11, 2022.
In addition to bilateral relations, the talks between Mr Parmelin and the two Finnish ministers will focus in particular on European policy issues and the economic handling of the Corona crisis in Finland and Switzerland. The discussion with the NESA CEO will concentrate on the countries’ national economic supply and crisis management systems.
Swiss exports to Finland amounted to CHF 624 million last year, while imports from Finland totalled CHF 1416 million. Products from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries are Switzerland’s most important exports to Finland, with precious metals, precious stones and gems dominating with regard to imports. Swiss direct investments in Finland amounted to CHF 1.3 billion at the end of 2020.
At the meeting in Berlin with Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Mr Parmelin will discuss bilateral relations in the area of education, research and innovation (ERI), and the quickest possible association of Switzerland to Horizon Europe and the related programmes and initiatives. Germany is by far Switzerland’s most important partner in the area of ERI. Between 2016 and 2022, the Swiss National Science Foundation supported around 4700 projects, while Innosuisse supported just under 110 projects with German participation. German students form the largest foreign group studying at Swiss universities with 12000 students (figures from 2020/21; foreign students only), while around 3700 Swiss nationals are currently studying in Germany.
Mr Parmelin will also hold talks with the President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Siegfried Russwurm, and other representatives of the business community.