Switzerland and France reaffirm and deepen relations during President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit
Bern, 15.11.2023 - On 15 November, the entire Federal Council welcomed the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte Macron, on a state visit. The military honours on the Bundesplatz were followed by official speeches and talks. Switzerland and France reaffirmed their commitment to deepen bilateral relations and signed two memorandums of understanding. European policy and the current international situation were also key topics of the talks. The second day of the visit will be dedicated to cooperation in the areas of research, innovation and education, and to pan-European challenges.
The official talks at the Bernerhof were attended by President Alain Berset, Vice President Viola Amherd and Federal Councillors Guy Parmelin, Ignazio Cassis, Albert Rösti and Elisabeth Baume-Schneider. The French delegation included Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, Minister of Higher Education and Research Sylvie Retailleau and Minister for Industry Roland Lescure.
Both sides recognised the deep-rooted friendly relations between Switzerland and France, which were enshrined, among other things, in the Treaty of Perpetual Peace signed in 1516 and are repeatedly renewed through close contacts at all levels. At the same time, the delegations emphasised the need to press ahead with important bilateral topics. They discussed the ongoing negotiations on the regularisation of Lake Geneva and the River Doubs, as well as the cooperation agreement on the Rhone, which has been finalised and is ready to be signed.
Other topics included economic relations, the expansion of public transport in the border region and the cooperation on energy supply. Following the talks, memorandums of understanding were signed on the exchange of students and cooperation in glacier and cryosphere research.
In view of the threat of a new global bloc mentality and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the two sides exchanged views on European values and perspectives. The Federal Council delegation welcomed the new European Political Community forum as an opportunity for more dialogue on the continent. The Swiss side also emphasised the goal of developing and consolidating the bilateral path with the European Union (EU). This follows the Federal Council’s decision last week to prepare a mandate for negotiations with the EU.
Multilateralism and cooperation between Switzerland and France at international level were also key topics. In addition to the Russian war of aggression, the situation in the Middle East and the work of the UN Security Council, the importance of International Geneva and scientific diplomacy as a means of strengthening multilateralism were also discussed.
Second day in Lausanne and Geneva
On Thursday, 16 November, President Berset and President Macron will visit the Jean Monnet Foundation in Lausanne, which houses the archives of the pioneer of European unification. Afterwards, an event for students is planned at the University of Lausanne, which will focus on French ideas for the future of the continent. An exchange with representatives of start-up companies is scheduled on a special charter train to Geneva. A visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva is also on the agenda, underlining the excellent cooperation between Switzerland and France in the field of research.
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