The foreign ministers of the four German-speaking European countries want to strengthen their international collaboration when it comes to issues such as the Ukraine crisis. Didier Burkhalter and his counterparts in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein signed an agreement on Sunday.
The document, which was approved at their yearly meeting, will also allow for strengthening of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The ministers declared their intent to work closely together concerning security and economic issues in the OSCE.
Next year Germany will hold the presidency of the OSCE, followed by Austria in 2017. It’s a role that Switzerland held in 2014.
The Swiss foreign ministry said that promoting security and peace in Europe was a priority for Swiss foreign policy. The group of German-speaking ministers want to find a joint solution for the current problems surrounding Ukraine. They also discussed the situation in the Middle East, and called for a peaceful solution in both areas.
Another topic at the meeting was the Swiss relationship with the European Union (EU). It was deemed important to include Switzerland’s neighbouring countries in the latest discussions concerning better checks on migration and the further development of Switzerland’s bilateral approach to the EU. The ministers agreed to be involved.
They also had a common wish to promote German around the world, deciding to support a competition for German as a foreign language and to give their financial backing to an international German-language teachers’ conference. A joint committee to share experiences and knowledge concerning the dual-education system in Switzerland will also be set up.