State visit by President Mattarella underlines importance of Swiss-Italian relations
Bern, 29.11.2022 - The state visit of Italian President Sergio Mattarella to Switzerland underlines the close relations between the two countries. President Mattarella was welcomed to Bern by the full Federal Council on Tuesday, 29 November. In his welcome speech, President Ignazio Cassis paid tribute to the close ties between Switzerland and Italy and their intensive contacts, which reinforce the italianità already present in Switzerland's DNA. Besides bilateral relations, the official talks focused on European policy, the security situation on the continent and multilateral issues.
The official talks took place in the Bernerhof where the Swiss delegation was led by President Cassis, accompanied by Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and Federal Councillor Viola Amherd, head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS).
During the discussion on bilateral relations, the positive developments of recent years were acknowledged, as well as the fact that new agreements have lately been reached in several policy areas, such as transport. Relations are close at all levels, and are characterised by the large respective communities in each other's countries, the common language area, shared values and aligned interests. The delegations discussed areas in which cooperation could be further strengthened. These included the deepening of economic relations, cooperation in the field of energy, as well as innovation and research.
With regard to European policy, the Swiss delegation outlined how the Federal Council believes the partnership between Switzerland and the European Union (EU), which has been successful for both sides, could be enhanced. They also touched on the ongoing exploratory talks with the EU. Other issues discussed included cooperation in Europe and between Switzerland and Italy on migration issues, the security situation and the war in Ukraine. The delegations exchanged views on the consequences of the Russian attack on security policy for the entire continent.
Second day of visit in Zurich
The first day of the state visit will be rounded off with a traditional gala dinner, which will also be attended by eminent figures from the worlds of science, sport and culture, testifying to the richness of relations between Switzerland and Italy. On Wednesday, 30 November, President Mattarella and President Cassis will visit ETH Zurich, where the focus will be on innovation and entrepreneurship. The two presidents are set to meet with students and researchers, and be given short presentations on individual projects and on the ETH's partnerships with institutions in Italy. One particular focus of the visit is on research being carried out at the Laboratory of Neuroengineering into improved prostheses, for example. Education and research are among the many areas in which Switzerland and Italy maintain close and neighbourly relations.
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