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‘Romania can count on Switzerland’s help and support’

H.E. Livio Hürzeler, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bucharest:

“2011 is a very special year for both Switzerland and Romania. They celebrate a hundred years of diplomatic relations characterized by friendship and mutual comprehension. The outburst of solidarity which moved so many Swiss to help Romanians at the fall of the communist regime enthusiastically supported by the Swiss section of the NGO “Operation Village Roumains” and by several charities is a strong token of the interest in Romania’s sake.

At the official level, this interest and indeed solidarity express themselves through two important cooperation programs, one for the transition period and the other for the cohesion among EU countries. But Romania is by far not only a country to be helped but above all a country to be partner with and this of course is a big attraction for Swiss authorities and Swiss investors.

As soon as the border of the country reopened in 1990 and as soon as the hope for a democratic future began to take shape trade and investments started to develop as well as links and cooperation between the governments of the two countries (see also the other articles). Nowadays the network of relations, contacts, negotiations and travel is considerable and continues to grow.

This closeness between the two countries does not come out of the blue but goes back to a well rooted tradition of Swiss people coming to settle down to Romania or to invest or make money already at the start of the 19th century.

It is worth reminding that the postal system of new independent country was set up in 1869 with the help of Swiss experts; that Swiss geologists were involved in the digging of wells and in the search for oil, that the steam engines of the boats on the Danube were delivered by Swiss companies, that many parks and garden of the capital have been created or modernized by Swiss gardeners, that the administrator of the royal domains of the tree first kings was a Swiss, that the electrification of the railway’s network was realized with the help of Switzerland, to mention but a few examples. So the history of our relations is an old one based on a solid and well established tradition.

That is why the Swiss Embassy wanted to celebrate in a appropriate way the hundred anniversary of our diplomatic ties although official and especially private relations go back much early in history. In that purpose and with the help of the Swiss authorities, the Pro Helvetia Foundation and above all the private sponsors, whose logos are shown below, the Embassy has set up an ambitious program of cultural, academic and political events throughout the year and in many cities of the country (www.eda.admin.ch/bucarest).

The most recent and most significant token of the importance Switzerland attaches to its relationship with Romania was the visit on June 30th and July 1st of the President of the Swiss Confederation Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey who could reaffirm our friendship and prepare the ground for further developments in our relations. Her visit will be followed later this year by the one of the minister for justice and police who will discuss the prospects of our cooperation in that field.

2012 will be again a very challenging year for Romania which will face elections and whose economy has not yet recover from the crises and may be confronted to difficulties. Again Romania can count on Switzerland’s will to provide where it can help and support.”

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