The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has renewed his call in favour of a series of bilateral treaties with the European Union in speeches on Friday to mark Europe Day, which is celebrated by member states of the Council of Europe.
Ogi took the opportunity to argue in favour of a "yes" vote for the bilateral treaties with the EU, when they come to a nationwide referendum on May 21. He said that Switzerland could strengthen its position in Europe by agreeing to the bilaterals.
But the Swiss president also said Switzerland's relations with Europe should not be reduced to its relations with the EU.
"The EU and Europe are not one and the same thing. Europe is a great deal more," he said. He explained that Europe was a huge continent in a state flux, which included highly industrialised nations as well as developing fringe countries in the East.
Ogi rounded off his speech by saying that Switzerland had a duty to help "make this continent even more prosperous, safer and better in terms of quality of life".
swissinfo with agencies