“To give further impetus to the excellent bilateral relations” between Italy and Switzerland was the goal of the first bilateral dialogue forum that opened today at Villa Madama in Rome, in the presence of Foreign Ministers Giulio Terzi and Didier Burkhalter, and that was sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland in Italy and the geopolitical journal Limes, in collaboration with ISPI.
Sparking pro-Europe debate
Participants included members of the civil society, the media and economic spheres intent on weaving a network of stable relations at all levels and sparking pro-Europe debate. To this end, Terzi underscored that “the ability of Switzerland to unite community and culture in a strong national identity respectful of diversity is a source of inspiration for those countries such as ours whose ambition is to create a political European Union of a federalist nature”, that is “more democratic and less bureaucratic”.
Framework agreement on strengthened cooperation
As of today, relations between Italy and Switzerland will be more intense thanks to its two ministers’ signing of a framework agreement on strengthened cooperation aimed at “contributing to defining a global agenda” that includes themes such as Europe, the struggle against the death penalty and UN Security Council reform.
Italy the number two trade partner
On the economic front, Italy is Switzerland’s number two partner in trade, which peaked at over €32 billion in 2011, and “we are working together on major transport and energy projects” such as the Genoa-Rotterdam link passing through the Gotthard Pass and the Transadriatic Pipeline for the transport of gas from Central Europe, Terzi added.
Burkhalter cited the two nations’ proximity and underscored that fiscal issues “too often take centre stage”. Moreover, the 50,000 Italians living in Switzerland “contribute to our country’s prosperity and are an example of successful integration”. Another area for collaboration will be the 2015 Expo, in which Switzerland was the first to confirm its participation, Burkhalter recalled, pointing out that the goal was to bring 2 million Swiss visitors to Milan.