President Guy Parmelin was received by King Carl XVI Gustaf at the start of his visit to Sweden on Monday, 14 June 2021. He then met separately with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation Ibrahim Baylan and Minister for Higher Education and Research Matilda Ernkrans, and paid a courtesy visit to Speaker of the Riksdag Andreas Norlén. The innovation agencies of Switzerland and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding to further deepen their cooperation, which has been ongoing since 2013.
Both sides acknowledged the existing good bilateral relations in their talks at government level. The President of the Confederation explained that Sweden is an important partner for Switzerland because the two countries represent largely identical values on the international stage. The great potential this presents will be used even more intensively in the future.
The two countries’ similar views on environmental protection, disarmament and human rights - views they represent, for instance, in their work with the United Nations or the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) - were also discussed. One of Switzerland’s foreign policy objectives is strengthening the OSCE, currently chaired by Sweden.
The talks also focused on economic measures to deal with the pandemic and ways out of the crisis. With regard to European policy, President Parmelin exchanged views on the latest developments, in particular on the Federal Council’s decision not to go forward with the planned institutional agreement with the European Union. Despite this decision, Switzerland intends to continue its close and multifaceted partnership with the EU and its member states.
In this context, Mr Parmelin emphasised that research cooperation with the EU and its member states is essential, and that it is in the interest of both sides to quickly begin negotiations on Switzerland’s participation in the Horizon Europe Research Framework Programme.
As two of the most innovative countries, Switzerland and Sweden maintain close exchanges on research issues. Mr Parmelin met with representatives of the Swedish scientific community in Stockholm. The Swiss delegation also included the Director of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), State Secretary Martina Hirayama, and the Director of Innosuisse, Annalise Eggimann.
With the President Parmelin and Prime Minister Löfven present, a memorandum of understanding was signed on Monday between the innovation agencies Innosuisse and Vinnova to deepen cooperation between the two. As innovation is extremely important to both Sweden and Switzerland as business locations, Innosuisse and Vinnova want to promote joint innovation projects between companies and universities in both countries. Especially in the industrial and high-tech sectors, joint research and development will lead to novel solutions on the market. This cooperation offers Swiss SMEs, large companies and research institutes the opportunity to work closely with Swedish partners.