The Swiss Parliament last week approved funding for a 1 bln Swiss frank contribution to the 10 new members of the EU, informed Swissinfo, a Internet news and information platform.
Almost half of the funding, 489 mln SFr (around 1 bln zloty), will go to Poland as part of an effort to reduce social disparities within the enlarged EU.
Since 1990, Switzerland has been financially aiding countries in Eastern Europe during their transformation to market economies. Since the collapse of communism, Switzerland has spent about 3.5 bln SFr on at least 1,000 aid projects in Eastern Europe.
The country has spent 154 mln SFr to support economic and social reforms in Poland, and to combat poverty and establish democratic institutions in the country during its transition to a market economy.
According to Swissinfo, the creation of a wholesale market for vegetable and flowers in Poznan, a city in the west of Poland, was the result of a successful Swiss initiative. Other successful projects included a health project to reduce infant mortality in the Katowice Region, in the Silesian Voivodeship. Incubators and other medical equipment for newborn babies and their mothers were provided to 144 outpatient clinics and hospitals.
The Swiss aid also includes regional programs to combat poverty and support research, education and culture. Non-EU member Switzerland has concluded 16 bilateral treaties with Brussels regarding trade and taxation, labor, customs, transport and immigration.
?If these countries make progress, if they create new businesses and new jobs, if they have a higher standard of living, Switzerland will also benefit. Since these countries have begun to recover and increase their consumption, our exports have registered a great leap forward,? noticed Hugo Bruggmann, head of cohesion at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). Below are details of Switzerland?s contribution this year to Eastern European nations: Poland 489 mln SFr; Hungary 131 mln SFr; Czech Republic 110 mln SFr; Lithuania 71 mln SFr; Slovakia 69 mln SFr; Latvia 60 mln SFr; Estonia 40 mln SFr; Slovenia 22 mln SFr; Cyprus 6 mln SFr; and Malta 3 mln Sfr.