Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome
Burkhalter and Renzi are meeting in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Switzerland’s relationship with the EU is on the agenda today as Swiss President Didier Burkhalter meets Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on an official visit to Rome.

The pair will discuss “various bilateral matters” between the two countries including tax, finances and Swiss-EU relations, according to a federal government press statement.

“Swiss policy in relation to the European Union and their mutual interest in maintaining and consolidating bilateral approach” will be the main item up for discussion between Burkhalter and Renzi, after Italy assumed the EU Presidency on July 1st.

The meeting will also “permit an exchange of views with the EU Presidency on cooperation with the OSCE, especially in relation to the crisis in Ukraine.”

Burkhalter is the head of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which is working to reduce tensions in Ukraine.

In addition Burkhalter, who is also Swiss foreign minister, will meet his Italian counterpart in the foreign office, Federica Mogherini, to discuss the situations in Ukraine, the Middle East and Libya.

“Switzerland and Italy have a tradition of good relations, characterised by close political, human and cultural ties and a shared language,” said the statement.

Switzerland is Italy's fourth most important export market, while Italy is Switzerland's third largest trading partner, behind Germany and the US.

Some 500,000 Italian citizens live in Switzerland, while just over 50,000 Swiss citizens live in Italy.

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