Office of the President of the Republic > Press centre
Slovenian President and the President of the Swiss Confederation advocate expansion of economic cooperation
Brdo by Kranj, 06/21/2004 | press release, statement
Following an invitation from the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Dr Joseph Deiss, is today on an official visit to the Republic of Slovenia. Dr Deiss met Dr Drnovšek this morning at Brdo Castle, where their talks focused on economic cooperation between the countries and new opportunities for its enhancement. Their discussion also touched on Slovenia’s experience of EU membership and the intense level of Swiss cooperation with the EU.
At the end of the meeting, the President Drnovšek hosted a press conference during which he issued the following statement:
"Switzerland is an important partner to our country. We have been fostering friendly relations between the two countries and there are no open issues or problems that we need to discuss. However, we have also dwelt on the possibilities for improving such cooperation, particularly in the economic sector. Our exchange of trade is steady, although opportunities for expansion exist. Mr Deiss is accompanied by a large business delegation and today’s talks centred on business topics. We are familiar with examples of successful cooperation in the economic area and today we mentioned the link between Novartis and Lek as representing an important example of investment into Slovenia. There are also possibilities for cooperation in the region of South Eastern Europe, where Slovenia is involved to a considerable extent. A large part of our discussion was devoted to European issues and to Slovenia's experience of EU membership. Considering that Switzerland has many agreements with the EU, the European question is a relevant topic for that country also. We also discussed other forms of international cooperation, particularly in the region of South Eastern Europe where Switzerland and Slovenia both have peacekeeping units. We had a very frank and intense exchange of opinions and this visit is an opportunity to further strengthen relations."
In addition, President Deiss, who visited Slovenia in 2001 as the Swiss minister of foreign affairs, stressed the importance of direct investments and expressed his hope that, gradually, Slovenia would also embark on investments in Switzerland. Slovenia is of interest to the Swiss economy from the perspective of having a highly trained labour force, which is important piece of information when further investments and the enhancement of economic cooperation are considered, Mr Deiss noted when he presented to his hosts the status of agreements between Switzerland and the EU. He also added that, this year, Switzerland has set for itself an important goal of concluding a second package of bilateral agreements with the EU and extending the agreement on the free movement of workers between Switzerland and the EU to the new EU member states.