"We are close neighbours and good friends," says Angela Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation, with military honours

Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation, with military honours

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Switzerland is endeavouring to implement the Dublin Agreement in an exemplary way, she said.

Switzerland and Germany are close neighbours and good friends, who have also forged close economic links, said the Chancellor during the visit of Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation. Switzerland was this year’s partner country of the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover. The Chancellor was invited to attend the opening of the new Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland.

Switzerland is consistently implementing the Dublin Agreement

"Our tour of CeBIT demonstrated that both of our countries are affected by the increasing digitalisation of our economies," said Angela Merkel. "Industry 4.0, the digitalisation of traditional manufacturing, is a topic that both countries are addressing." They had also discussed the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the European Union, said the Chancellor. The German side is interested in finding a sound solution with the European Union. "In view of the many people who live in Germany and work in Switzerland alone, this is a relevant issue." Angela Merkel expressed her hope that a mutually acceptable solution can be found.

The Chancellor and the President of the Swiss Confederation also discussed migration and cooperation of the two border police forces. The latter is working very well, said the Chancellor and expressly thanked Switzerland. Switzerland, she said, is one of the countries that is trying "to consistently implement the Dublin Agreement in spite of all its weaknesses, and it is doing so with great success".

Switzerland is also affected in a similar way by regional conflicts including the civil war in Syria and the so-called Islamic State in Iraq. Angela Merkel reported that they had discussed these points too in detail.

Economic relations
Germany is Switzerland’s most important trading partner by far. In 2015, bilateral trade was worth nearly 84 billion Swiss francs, accounting for around 23 per cent of Switzerland’s total foreign trade (369.2 billion Swiss francs). Swiss exports to Germany were worth just under 37 billion Swiss francs and Swiss imports from Germany around 47 billion Swiss francs. Switzerland remains one of Germany’s top ten trading partners, ranking ninth in 2014. Only the United States and China are more important than Switzerland in Germany’s foreign trade outside the EU’s single market.