Switzerland’s EU ‘cohesion’ payment targets eight countries

The second Swiss cohesion payment comes at a time of tense relations with the EU. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Malta and Poland will benefit from CHF1.1 billion ($1.13 billion) in Swiss funding, as part of an agreement with the European Union.

This content was published on August 31, 2022 minutes

The so-called ‘cohesion’ payment will fund a range of projects in those countries until 2029, the government stated on WednesdayExternal link.

These can include research, health, vocational training, integration, security, the inclusion of minorities, citizen engagement, biodiversity, environmental and climate protection, urban planning, support for small companies and tourism.

The money will directly fund selected projects rather than be paid into the coffers of partner countries or the EU.

Cohesion payments are seen as the entry fee for non-EU members like Switzerland or Norway to take part in the European Single Market. They are aimed at reducing economic and social disparities and to manage migration better in selected EU member states.

Switzerland’s second such contribution had been withheld in 2019 following a stand-off between Bern and Brussels over future political ties. But the Swiss parliament voted in October last year to unfreeze the paymentExternal link in an attempt to thaw frosty ties with its biggest trading partner.

Switzerland has also agreed to provide further funding in areas such as migration, bringing the total cohesion payment to just over CHF1.3 billion over the next 10 years.

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