Switzerland’s Cohesion Payments
Since 1990, the Swiss Parliament has allocated substantial financial resources to support political, economic and social transformation in Eastern Europe. This support aims at building a pluralistic democracy and a market economy that is socially and environmentally sensitive.
In March 2006, the Swiss Parliament passed the Federal Law on Eastern Europe to ensure the continuity of this cooperation; in November 2006 the people of Switzerland confirmed the law in a popular voting. It provides a legal basis for Switzerland’s cohesion contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in the expanded EU.
The following countries are entitled to cohesion support:
Areas of support
- Security, stability and support for reforms (e.g. regional development initiatives in peripheral or disadvantaged regions)
- Environment and infrastructures (e.g. biodiversity and nature protection)
- Promotion of the private sector (e.g. promotion of certified organic agricultural products; promotion of standards, norms and conformity assessments in agricultural production; promotion of industrial production that conforms to the principle of sustainable development from a social, environment and eco-efficiency point of view)
- Human and social development (e.g. technical and vocational training; town and commune twinning)
Applications for projects are carried out exclusively in the partner countries once Switzerland has concluded a framework agreement with each of the relevant partner countries. Within the scope of negotiations with regard to the framework agreement, a National Coordination Unit will be appointed in each of the partner countries. This Unit will be responsible for the initial assessment of project proposal. The Federal Council of Switzerland will then select projects and programmes in agreement with the partner states, taking in account their requests, needs and absorption capacity.
More information is available from SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation).