President Klaus Iohannis, at a joint news conference Thursday with the President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset, on an official visit to Bucharest, encouraged the Swiss investments in Romania, emphasizing the need to boost the commercial exchanges between the two countries.
“As for the bilateral relationship, I appreciated their dynamic and profoundness finding at the same time, the need for a better capitalization of the current potential. In context, I have identified certain priority development paths, such as collaboration in culture, education, research and innovation. I used this opportunity to encourage the Swiss investments in Romania. Currently, Switzerland ranks 11th among the foreign investors,” Iohannis stressed.
He underlined the need to boost the commercial exchanges, showing that their level is good, of over EUR 850 million.
“Around 30,000 Romanian nationals live in Switzerland, most of them highly qualified, highly prepared, very well integrated and I believe we could say that they contribute to the development of the Swiss’s economy and society,” he said.
Iohannis appreciated the Swiss financial contribution to the programmes carried out regarding the European Union’s cohesion, specifying that so far it was worth Swiss Francs 180 million in projects in Romania regarding the borders’ security, the local and regional management capacity, the upgrading of the judicial system, of the environment and infrastructure, the private sector’s promotion, export included, as well as the social development and of the human resources.
“I voiced my contentment for the until now programmes and my hope that things will go on in a positive manner,” Iohannis asserted.
He mentioned that the talks have also aimed at the future rotating presidency of Romania to the EU Council, and at the EU enlargement process, as well.
“Romania will undoubtedly watch actively the negotiations regarding the signing of an institutional agreement-framework between the European Union and Switzerland, and of course to us it is important the new financial contribution of Switzerland to the EU cohesion Funds. I stressed the attention we pay to strengthening the role of the EU in the global multilateral architecture, and to the regional cooperation, too, I have addressed topics such as the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighbourhood, and aspects connected to the Black Sea region. I specified that Romania will stay firmly committed in the furthering of the EU enlargement process, this enlargement process that contributes to the stability, prosperity and security of the European Union and Europe, in the broad sense that obviously includes Switzerland,” President Iohannis concluded.
All employment restrictions on Romanians seeking jobs in Switzerland to be lifted at end-May 2019
Romania’s head of state welcomed the fact that after May 2019 there will be no restrictions on the Swiss labour market for Romanian citizens seeking employment there.
“Naturally, this matter is of great interest to me and I wanted to know the president’s opinion about these things, I wanted to know more in-depth about the motivation behind reinstating quotas and I wanted to know from Mr President how the Romanian community is actually seen in Switzerland, because we remember, not necessarily fondly, that there were times when these things were discussed on a note that we did not like in other countries. I can tell you that the conclusion is very good and very positive one. Switzerland, for purely technical reasons, had to reinstate these quotas – let us not call them restrictions; given the conditions in which it was confirmed that the discussions in the Swiss society about Romania, about the Romanians, are on a positive note I can only hail the fact that after the end of May 2019 there will be no restrictions,” Iohannis told a joint news conference with his Swiss counterpart Alain Berset on the extension of the safeguard clause.
In April 2018, the Swiss Federal Council decided to extend the safeguard clause applicable to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, provided for in Protocol II to the EU-Switzerland Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP).
This measure, according to the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) is valid for one year until May 31, 2019 and cannot be renewed; it concerns new “B” residence permits (stay between 1 and 5 years). The measure does not restrict the issuance of L-type permits (stay under one year) nor the extension of “B” type licences already issued.
Under the 1999 AFMP between the Swiss Confederation and the European Union on the Free Movement of Persons, extended to include Romania and Bulgaria on June 1, 2009 under Protocol II thereto, the access of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens to the Swiss labour market was restricted to quota limits set for a period of 7 years (2 years + 3 years + 2 years, 2009 to May 31, 2016).
The restriction period for employment ended on May 31, 2016, when Switzerland liberalised the movement of Romanian and Bulgarian workers. According to the protocol, for the last time, on June 1, 2018, the Swiss government may activate a safeguard clause.
Switzerland enforced the measure in 2012 for the new EU member states and in 2013 for all EU member states.
Switzerland supports Romania’s OECD membership bid
Switzerland supports Romania’s bid to become a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), visiting Swiss President Alain Berset, said on Thursday.
“Switzerland supports Romania’s OECD membership bid and we have seen that we can continue our work to achieve such goal,” Berset told a joint news conference in Bucharest with President Klaus Iohannis.