Talking about the epidemiological situation and relations with the European Union
Vienna (PC) – This afternoon, National Assembly President Wolfgang Sobotka exchanged views with President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignacio Cassis, during his inaugural visit to Austria. The talks dealt with bilateral and economic relations between the two countries, the relationship with the European Union and the COVID-19 crisis.
Sobotka hails the excellent relationship between Switzerland and Austria
Sobotka underlined the excellent bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries – also at the parliamentary level. This is reflected in the joint strategic partnership that includes many important projects. In addition, there are also excellent economic relations and this is especially evident in the dynamics of the Rhine Valley and the Lake Constance region, according to Sobotka. The close interdependence of the two countries is also very evident in the population. 65,000 Austrians live in Switzerland and more than 9,000 people travel across the border.
Constructive cooperation in the fight against epidemics
The Speaker of the National Council thanked President Cassis for the good bilateral cooperation in the fight against the epidemic and for Switzerland’s constructive rules for travelers across borders and border areas. The pandemic has shown more clearly that the two countries are linked not only by a common economic zone, but also by an important common living space, according to Cassis Sobotka. It is therefore important to exempt passengers from border protection measures. Cassis reported the number of infections in Switzerland, which is currently twice as many, and the countermeasures taken. The Speaker of the National Council also paid attention to the experience of Switzerland regarding the possibility of compulsory vaccination, which was established by law about ten years ago, and the two referendums on the fight against the epidemic. The head of the National Council was convinced that the compulsory vaccination planned in Austria would help in the coming waves of infection and mutations of the virus. When asked about the interaction between the regional authorities in Switzerland, President Cassis emphasized that federalism is a useful factor in the fight against the pandemic.
The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union
The President of the Austrian National Council Sobotka made it clear that Austria attaches great importance to the closest possible connection between Switzerland and the European Union. Austria considers itself a point of contact and bridges for Switzerland within the European Union. But Sobotka said when the neighboring country broke off negotiations on the Institutional Framework Agreement between the EU and Switzerland last May, that this would only work if Switzerland itself wanted to build “bridges with the EU”. In this context, Federal President Cassis affirmed that Switzerland will continue to seek a solution to this dispute with regard to the European Union. Now, however, time is needed to think about what that path could look like. (close) pst
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