Wien, 27. November 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Clear commitment by Switzerland to European solidarity"

27.11.2006

Way clear for Switzerland's financial contribution to new EU Member States

Vienna, 27 November 2006 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik welcomed the positive outcome of Sunday's vote by the Swiss population on the Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe: "The outcome of the referendum on the Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe reflects the solidarity of our neighbouring country Switzerland with its partners in Europe. With its solidarity contribution Switzerland will support the reduction of economic and social inequalities in the new EU Member States by means of specific projects," said Plassnik.

Foreign Minister Plassnik emphasised that after the consent to the Schengen Association Agreement and the extension of the free movement of persons to the ten new EU Member States the referendum on the Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe was the third European policy bill to be adopted by Switzerland within a short period of time. "This positive decision reaffirms Switzerland's commitment to solidarity with its European partners. Stability and economic and social balance in Europe are in the interests of us all," continued Plassnik.

The Federal Act on Cooperation with Eastern Europe is valid for the next ten years. It enables Switzerland to continue its support for reforms in Eastern Europe. At the same time it constitutes the legal basis for Switzerland's contribution to EU enlargement by the ten new Member States which acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004. The agreement on Switzerland's financial contribution in the amount of one billion Swiss Francs was signed in February under Austria's Presidency by Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Contact:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
abti3(at)bmaa.gv.at