Further European countries

The picture shows Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania. Due to the large diaspora in Switzerland, it has close ties with the countries of the Western Balkans.
Close relations with the countries of the Western Balkans due to the large diaspora in Switzerland: Skanderbeg Square in the centre of Tirana, Albania. © WikimediaCommons/Pudelek

Switzerland also maintains bilateral relations with countries that are not EU members or members of EFTA. These are also countries that are potential EU accession candidates or already EU accession candidates.

Switzerland also cultivates its relations with European countries outside the EU area, above all to the regions of South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus. Switzerland's engagement focuses on peace and security, prosperity and good governance, sustainable resource management and digital governance.

In the Western Balkans, with which Switzerland has particularly close ties due to its large diaspora, the focus is on support for the stability and development of the individual countries and the process of EU integration. 

Switzerland is also committed to a free, sovereign, democratic Ukraine and regards the reconstruction of the country as a task of strategic importance. In June 2023, Ukraine – together with Moldova – attained the status of EU candidate country. At the end of 2022, Bosnia-Herzegovina also received this status, so that a total of eight countries now belong to the group of EU candidates. In addition to the aforementioned, it is Albania, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. Georgia and Kosovo have applied for membership.

Switzerland's bilateral relations with the states in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus are coordinated by the Eurasia Division in the FDFA State Secretariat. It defines the foreign policy guidelines in relations with these states and implements them in close cooperation with the corresponding Swiss embassies or representations. An important part of its activities consists of preparing and accompanying visits and talks at diplomatic level.

The division Cooperation with Eastern Europe is responsible for supporting the transition of former socialist states, their projects are implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). In this way, Switzerland supports governments, the private sector and civil society in these regions in strengthening democracy and the rule of law and promoting an environmentally sound social market economy. In the Western Balkans, cooperation with Eastern Europe focuses on Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Serbia. The focus is also on the Eastern European states of Moldova and Ukraine as well as on the Southern Caucasus.