Health agreement Switzerland-EU

Since 2008, Switzerland and the EU have worked towards concluding a cooperation agreement on health. The health agreement is part of the package approach defined by the Federal Council in February 2022 and the negotiations are to be resumed. The Federal Council intends to intensify cooperation with the EU particularly in the area of management and the prevention of health threats.

As the COVID pandemic made clear, public health risks do not stop at the border. Close cooperation and a coordinated transborder approach are vital in a highly interconnected environment such as Europe. Thus, it’s in Switzerland’s interest to participate in EU networks and mechanisms for crisis management to prevent transborder threats to health and thereby better protect the population’s health. Without a health agreement with the EU, Switzerland has no secure access to the relevant mechanisms, the cooperation on health takes place on a case-by-case (or ad hoc) basis, and is limited to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2008, the Federal Council adopted a mandate to negotiate a health agreement with the EU. By 2018 a draft agreement was completed at the technical level which would allow Switzerland to become involved in the following areas:

  • Mechanisms for tackling serious cross-border health threats. These include an early-warning and response system as well as the Health Security Committee.
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. This supports participating states on issues including the early recognition and analysis of public health threats from communicable diseases.
  • The EU’s multi-annual health programme. The programme helps fund health promotion projects and other initiatives.

The agreement could not be concluded due to then unresolved overarching institutional issues.

Current developments: Health agreement in the package approach

The health agreement is part of the package approach defined by the Federal Council in February 2022. At its meeting on 8 March 2024, the Federal Council approved the mandate for negotiations with the European Union (EU). Negotiations on the health agreement are now to be resumed and the 2018 draft will be adapted to subsequent developments in EU law.

The agreement will remain limited to the three specified areas and will therefore focus on health security. However, the agreement should allow for the possibility of expanding its scope to other areas of health, if this is in the interests of both parties.

Further information on current developments in bilateral relations between Switzerland and the EU on the package approach can be found on the website of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs:

Last modification 05.03.2024

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