Deputy Minister Benedetto Della Vedova met today at the Foreign Office with Swiss State Secretary Livia Leu. The meeting focused on bilateral relations – in particular, the promotion of language and culture in the world and scientific cooperation – as well as relations between the European Union and Switzerland and the negotiations on the Institutional Framework Agreement. The meeting was also the occasion for signing the renewal of the agreement for the mutual recognition of driving licences, the implementation of which is of significant importance for citizens of the two countries, especially frontier workers.
In his opening address, Deputy Minister Della Vedova stressed the solidity of bilateral relations between Italy and Switzerland, rooted in the historical relations of good-neighbourliness and friendship, entailing intense economic relations (Switzerland is the fourth destination country for our exports) and fruitful political dialogue, which, in the words of Della Vedova, must be strengthened further.
The Deputy Minister then emphasised the strong cultural relations and fruitful cooperation in the scientific and aeronautical fields. In particular, he expressed his appreciation for the Swiss initiatives to protect the Italian language within the framework of the country’s quadrilingualism and his hope for an even stronger and more structured collaboration between the two countries in promoting and spreading the Italian language throughout the world, a fundamental element of the privileged bond between Italy and Switzerland. With regard to the relations between the European Union and Switzerland, the Deputy Minister stressed the importance of finalising the Institutional Framework Agreement. “We believe that the agreement is fair and balanced”, Della Vedova explained, “because it provides a unitary and coherent framework that is necessary for EU-Swiss relations and allows the latter to strengthening its participation in the internal market”. “Italy,” he added, “is willing to examine any constructive proposals aimed at overcoming the current impasse, always with the aim of protecting the fundamental aspects of the acquis and the interests of the Union, in particular in the area of the free movement of persons”.