Cooperation with the European Union (EU)

As Switzerland's main economic partner, the European Union is similarly a key interlocutor for matters relating to health. Cooperation takes place in both a formal and an informal context.

The federal Councillor Alain Berset surrounded by his counterparts and the Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis at the Informal meeting of Minsters of Health, Amsterdam (NL), 18th of April 2016

Formal cooperation – bilateral agreements

Even though, at the present point in time, no specific bilateral agreement has been concluded for the field of public health, a number of aspects are nonetheless covered by agreements that are currently in force:

  • Agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP), which contains provisions on the mutual recognition of diplomas for medical professions and on the coordination of social security systems, including sickness and maternity insurance.
  • Agreement with the EU on the mutual recognition of conformity assessments, to eliminate trade barriers for certain technical, industrial products, including medical devices and biocidal products. The agreement similarly covers the certification of medicinal products and the inspection of their manufacturing processes.
  • The Schengen/Dublin Agreement for certificates for sick travellers who rely on substances subject to the legislation governing narcotics.

Ongoing negotiations

Switzerland and the EU share the wish to intensify their cooperation on health matters. In 2015, the two parties finalised a draft cooperation agreement in the field of public health. This draft provides for Switzerland to participate in:

  • the mechanism for the management of serious cross-border health threats,
  • the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,ECDC,
  • the third programme for the European Union's action in the field of health (2014-2020).

At the moment, the conclusion of this project is dependent on negotiations regarding institutional issues that are ongoing between the EU and Switzerland.

Informal meetings of health ministers

Switzerland is regularly invited, through the Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, to participate as an observer in the "EU Informal Health Ministers Meeting", which is held twice a year. At these meetings, ministers raise current health-related issues in Europe.

Last modification 17.08.2018

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