Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis receives Spanish Foreign Minister in Bern
Bern, 20.11.2020 - On 20 November 2020, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, met with Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya. The talks focused on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, relations with the European Union and bilateral relations between Switzerland and Spain. The Spanish minister's visit was also an opportunity to discuss multilateral commitments and International Geneva.
COVID-19 and various Europe-related topics were the main points discussed during the meeting between the two foreign ministers. Mr Cassis and Ms González Laya reported on the situations and measures taken in their countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Both reaffirmed the importance of good Europe-wide cooperation to address this health crisis. They then reviewed a number of Europe-related issues. "The Federal Council set out its position on the institutional agreement last week and resumed contact with the EU," Mr Cassis informed his Spanish counterpart. European migration policy and combating climate change were also discussed. Regarding international political events, the two foreign ministers discussed the situation in the eastern Mediterranean.
At the multilateral level, Switzerland and Spain are committed to the promotion of human rights, for example in the context of the reform of the United Nations system and in the Human Rights Council. During the meeting, Mr Cassis referred to the Federal Council's adoption of Switzerland's voluntary report on its implementation of international humanitarian law. He also highlighted the importance of International Geneva at the multilateral level as a centre for digital expertise.
Solid, close, long-standing ties
Relations between Switzerland and Spain are close in a variety of areas. The two countries' close diplomatic ties are maintained through regular visits and high-level telephone exchanges, the last of which between Mr Cassis and Ms González Laya took place on 1 July. Mr Cassis had also sent a letter to his Spanish counterpart, thanking her for the cooperation regarding the FDFA's repatriation flights, which enabled 7,311 Swiss and EU citizens to return home.
The two countries work closely together in the areas of development cooperation, consular services and culture, and they enjoy close, long-standing economic relations. In 2019, their volume of trade amounted to some CHF 14 billion. Spain is Switzerland’s eighth-largest trading partner.
Address for enquiries
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs