Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis and his Austrian counterpart, Karin Kneissl, have been discussing EU policy, airspace security and migration.
During Kneissl's working visit in Bern on Tuesday, Cassis informed her about the future of Switzerland’s framework agreement with the European Union – “including the launch of consultations on the draft institutional agreement”, as the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)external link announced in a statement.
Whereas Switzerland is not a member of the 28-country bloc, Austria wrapped up its six-month term of the rotating EU presidency at the end of 2018.
As Kneissl told Swiss public television, SRFexternal link, "The agreement was drawn up over a long period of time, with experts at all levels. Everyone has said how far they are willing to go. The results are impressive. Now it is up to the Swiss side to take the next step."
Cassis and Kneissl also discussed the bilateral airspace agreement that takes effect on February 1.
“The agreement authorises Swiss pilots to cross the Austrian border to counter an air threat, for example at the World Economic Forum in Davosexternal link. Switzerland has already signed airspace agreements with other neighbouring countries, allowing the Swiss Air Force to respond to incidents across the border,” notes the FDFA.
In addition, Cassis and Kneissl exchanged views on current world affairs. Topics included cooperation in the area of migration, reforms of the UN system and the situation in the Middle East. The two colleagues also highlighted the “excellent relations” between Switzerland and Austria.