Switzerland and Portugal to work together more closely on digitalisation

Bern, 28.11.2017 - Switzerland and Portugal reaffirmed their close ties during President Doris Leuthard’s visit to Lisbon and defined areas in which cooperation could be further intensified, with the priority on digitalisation. The main topics of discussion during the official talks on Tuesday, 28 November, were European policy, economic relations and cooperation on education and research.

At the meeting between President Leuthard and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa digitalisation in particular was discussed as a field for closer cooperation. Since 2016 Lisbon has played host to the Web Summit, Europe’s largest gathering of the IT sector, while in December Switzerland will host the next UN Internet Governance Forum on current issues regarding digitalisation.

During the talks Ms Leuthard outlined the state of relations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) and the implementation of the new constitutional provisions on immigration. Other topics of discussion included migration to Europe and international climate policy. Ms Leuthard praised the quality of the bilateral relations between Switzerland and Portugal and congratulated Portugal on its economic growth.

At the start of the visit President Leuthard laid a wreath at the grave of the national poet, Luís de Camões, at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. She then held talks with Prime Minister António Costa and other members of government. Also on the agenda was a meeting with Assembly President Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues and a tour of the renowned Champalimaud Foundation’s Centre for the Unknown.

Tradition of good relations

President Leuthard’s visit to Portugal marks the continuation of contacts between the two countries at the highest level of protocol. President Rebelo de Sousa paid a state visit to Switzerland in October last year. The last Swiss president to be received on a state visit in Portugal was Pascal Couchepin in 2003.

In addition to the tradition of good political relations, the two countries are also share strong ties due to the large Portuguese community living in Switzerland numbering around 270,000. There are around 3,700 Swiss citizens living in Portugal. In 1910 Switzerland was the first European country to recognise the republican government following the overthrow of the monarchy.

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