Italy, Switzerland look to boost political and economic ties


Foreign undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto held talks in Bern with Swiss secretary of state for economic affairs and trade Marie Gabrielle Ineichen Fleisch and secretary of state and director for European Affairs Roberto Balzaretti on Wednesday to mull bilateral ties and how to strengthen these, to the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The talks in Bern focussed on a number of issues concerning the bilateral relationship between Italy and Switzerland, in particular the protection of (some 70,000) cross-border workers, as well as trade and investment issues and shared infrastructure development projects such as railways, said the statement.

"My presence in Bern on the first visit abroad following Covid emergency testifies to the importance the government attaches to our bilateral relations," said Scalfarotto.

Italian and Swiss colleagues have worked "extremely intensely" in recent months to ensure the reopening of border crossings and the protection of the health of border workers, he said.

"Switzerland represents a neighbour and friend with whom we have many common interests and with whom we share many positions on international issues. A strengthening of our partnership in the economic and political field is certainly an objective to work towards in the coming months, in the interests of both countries," Mr Scalfarotto stated.

Scalfarotto, Ineichen Fleisch and Balzaretti also discussed Italy and Switzerland's respective positions on issues such as the WTO stalemate, the prospects of for the Italian G20 presidency next year and the crux of negotiations between Switzerland and the EU for a new Framework Agreement, the statement noted.