Greece–Switzerland relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Greek-Swiss relations
Map indicating locations of Greece and Switzerland




Greek-Swiss relations are foreign relations between Greece and Switzerland. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1830. Switzerland opened its consulate in 1865. Greece has an embassy in Bern, a general consulate in Geneva, and two honorary consulates in Zurich and Lugano. Switzerland has an embassy in Athens and four consulates (Thessaloniki, Corfu, Patras, Rhodos).


Greece and Switzerland have a long tradition of relations. Before and during the Congress of Vienna in 1815 Ioannis Kapodistrias, a native of Corfu in the service of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, laboured successfully for reorganisation of the Swiss Confederation and for the international recognition of Swiss neutrality.[1] In 1816, he became the first honorary citizen of the city of Lausanne[2] and in 1827 the first Governor of the Hellenic State. Switzerland was one of the nations that supported the creation of the Greek nation in 1830. Two natives of Geneva exercised important functions in the newly constituted Greek monarchy: Jean-Gabriel Eynard as one of the founders of the National Bank of Greece (1842) and Louis-André Gosse was involved in fighting the plague epidemic of 1827 and was a commander in the Greek Navy.[1]

During the Second World War, Switzerland represented the interests of numerous countries in occupied Greece and supported the civilian population. During the military dictatorship (1967-1974) in Greece, many opposition figures found refuge in Switzerland. The Swiss Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Greece was formed in Bern in 1967.[1]

Greece and Switzerland have a number of treaties between the two countries, mainly dealing with commerce.[3] Some of the major treaties between the countries deal with Social Security and the avoidance of double taxation in respect of income tax.[4]


The balance of trade between Greece and Switzerland is generally toward Switzerland, with Greece having a constant trade deficit. Between 2006 and 2007 Swiss exports to Greece increased 12.9%, while Greek exports to Switzerland increased 26.4%.[5] The main Swiss products imported into Greece are pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, watches, clocks and other luxury goods, machinery and high technology products, electronic equipment, and specific types of food. The main Greek products imported into Switzerland are food and beverages, chemicals, construction materials, and textiles.[4] There are about 48 Swiss companies in Greece[4] which employ about 10’000 people in Greece.[1] Around 300,000 Swiss vacationers visit Greece every year.[1]

Balance of Trade between Greece and Switzerland (in millions of Swiss Francs)[4]
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2007[5]
Swiss exports to Greece 928.4 852.7 848.7 910.2 948.8 1091.9 1180.7 1306
Greek exports to Switzerland 120.4 126.4 136.1 153.0 134.8 151.9 150.3 316
Balance of Trade -808.0 -726.3 -712.6 -757.2 -814.0 -940.0 -1030.4 -990

Capodistrias – Spinelli Today

European Union: disintegration or a new beginning? This is the question posed by the crisis we are living through, which has triggered so much speculation (!) over the fate of Greece. Ioannis Capodistrias, Altiero Spinelli: two emblematic personalities of pan-European stature marking two different phases of the course towards a united citizens’ Europe. Anyone who has visited the European Parliament will be well aware that Spinelli plays the same symbolic role for the political circles of the European Union as Capodistrias plays for the majority of Greeks who regard the establishment of the modern Hellenic state in 1828, at Aegina, as a historic advance not just for the citizens of this country but for Europe as a whole. Today in the midst of crisis the European Union seems vis-à-vis Greece and other EU member countries to be introducing policies that are extremely problematic for the peoples of Europe. Is it possible in this conjuncture for anyone to believe that the ideas of these two visionaries, Capodistrias and Spinelli, have any chance of influencing the reality of our days and opening new prospects for the European Union? Our three speakers will attempt to provide an answer to this. Andreas Koukos Andreas … Continue reading