Federal Council receives German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Press Release, The Federal Council, 25.04.2018

On Wednesday, 25 April, the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, arrived in Switzerland for a state visit, accompanied by his wife, Elke Büdenbender, and was greeted by the Federal Council, led by President Alain Berset. Official talks focused on bilateral relations, European policy, and cooperation between the two countries in an international context. Both sides stressed the advantages arising from their intensive cooperation.

Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga greets German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his state visit to Switzerland
Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga greets German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his state visit to Switzerland (Photo: Keystone / Peter Schneider)

In his address during the reception in Bern, President Berset stated that Switzerland and Germany formed a community of shared values, and stressed that Switzerland would not be what it is today without the close cultural, social and economic ties with its neighbour.

On the Swiss side, the talks in the Bernerhof were attended by President Berset, the vice president of the Federal Council, Ueli Maurer, and federal councillors Simonetta Sommaruga, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Ignazio Cassis.

Both sides praised the excellent state of bilateral relations, the close cooperation in education, research and innovation, and the success of economic exchanges, which last year reached a volume of roughly CHF 100 billion.

Cooperation is also good in the field of transport, where Germany has significantly increased investment in transport infrastructure in recent years. The Swiss delegation also stressed the importance of stable and favourable conditions for Zurich airport.

With regard to Switzerland's relations with the European Union (EU), reference was made to the favourable window of opportunity for progress in institutional negotiations. The Federal Council delegation briefed the German delegation on developments in that dossier and emphasised the
importance of the bilateral path for Switzerland.

On the subject of migration, Switzerland and Germany agreed that a coordinated Europe-wide response was needed to address migratory movements. The delegations also discussed a number of international issues, such as the situation on the Korean peninsula and in Iran. Both sides underlined the importance of the nuclear agreement with Iran concluded in 2015.

Second day in in Fribourg and Zurich

A traditional gala dinner will be held in Bern on the first evening. The programme for the second day of the visit, 6 April, is dedicated to the themes of democracy and sustainability. In Fribourg President Berset and President Steinmeier will take part in a podium discussion on prospects fro democracy in the 21st century.

Afterwards, together with Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communisations (DETEC), the two presidents will visit the ‘NeighborHub' solar-powered house project developed by a group of Swiss universities. In the afternoon, Mr Berset will accompany Mr Steinmeier to Zurich where he will take leave of his guest.

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