Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey has started an official visit to Romania, in which she will discuss bilateral relations and European and international issues.
The two-day trip marks the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bern and Bucharest. Calmy-Rey was welcomed by her Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu with military honours.
At a media conference, Calmy-Rey was asked why the Swiss government was keeping quotas until May 2014 for Romanians wishing to work in Switzerland. As European Union member, Romania has benefited since 2009 from Switzerland’s treaty with the EU on the free movement of people.
Calmy-Rey told a media conference that ten other states had joined the EU before Romania did in 2007 and that this “transitory period” was in line with other countries’ policies.
For his part, Basescu said he wanted his country to join another major European agreement, the Schengen treaty, which governs the European single border area, in September.
Switzerland supports the move, Calmy-Rey said. Within its enlargement contribution of SFr181 million ($215 million) for Romania, a project has already been launched to boost security at Romanian borders, ahead of joining Schengen, according to a foreign ministry statement.
swissinfo.ch and agencies