Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman was on a working visit to the Swiss Confederation on Tuesday, where he held talks with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis.
Grlić Radman highlighted the good and friendly relations between Croatia and Switzerland, firmly anchored in European values, noting that the Croatian community in Switzerland also contributed to this.
He thanked Cassis for Switzerland’s donation of 20 fully equipped mobile residential units and 12 sanitary containers for the earthquake-devastated Banovina region. In that context, the two ministers mentioned the possibility of further cooperation between their countries’ civil protection services.
Grlić Radman welcomed the decision by the Swiss Federal Council of 1 October 2021 under which, after five years of applying Protocol III of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, Switzerland will not request a further extension of the transitional period during which the access of Croatian nationals to the Swiss labour market was restricted. This means that as of 1 January 2022 Croatian nationals will have the same status as citizens of other EU member states on the Swiss labour market, which will provide fresh impetus to Croatia–Switzerland relations.
The two ministers underscored mutual satisfaction with the ongoing implementation of the Swiss-Croatian cooperation programme, which will continue to be carried out via various projects through 2024 and beyond, once Switzerland pays its financial contribution to the EU cohesion policy. They also discussed the overall EU-Swiss relations.
In addition, Grlić Radman and Cassis talked about migration, the situation in Southeast Europe and Ukraine, the possibilities of further strengthening cooperation in multilateral formats, as well as boosting economic cooperation and investment.
Another topic discussed was regulating the work status of Croatian language teachers in Switzerland. “Croatian classes are of vital importance for maintaining and fostering the linguistic, cultural and national identity of younger generations of Croatian emigrants in Switzerland,” Grlić Radman said. During the visit, he also met with representatives of the Croatian community.
“The 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year will be an opportunity to further deepen and expand our bilateral relations," the minister concluded.