In the spring session two military-political decisions have been taken by Parliament, which require speedy repairs. On the one hand, the National Council rejected on 10 March 2016, a motion of the SVP for the “withdrawal from the NATO program Partnership for Peace (PfP)” without discussion (!).1 Secondly, the so-called “development of the Army (WEA)” was clearly accepted after prolonged debates in the final vote on 18 March.2 After these decisions a return to the basic pillars of Swiss security policy becomes necessary: The enduring armed neutrality and the constitutional mandate of the army for the defence of the land and population (Article 58 Paragraph 2 of the Federal Constitution). On the problem of the Swiss participation in the PfP representatives Adrian Amstutz takes a clear position. Against the WEA, a citizens committee around the “Group Giardino” has initiated a referendum; the referendum deadline is the 7 July.
Behind the back of the sovereign – that is, without being subjected to referendum! – the Federal Council joined the PfP in 1996, a body created by NATO and under their command for non-NATO countries.
From the justification of the Federal Council: “The aim of PfP is to strengthen peace, democracy and security in Europe and to jointly seek answers to current threats. Through cooperation trust and transparency is to be created in the sensitive field of security and defence policy.”3 [Emphasis by the editor]
Neutral Switzerland should “seek responses to current threats” with the aggressive war power NATO – under the command of the United States or Germany or which foreign power whatsoever? This is strong stuff, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federal Councils! The motion 14.3746 clearly counters these intentions in plain text: “[…] PfP has been launched by NATO to step up security policy and military cooperation. According to the Federal Council, PfP is compatible with neutrality, as Switzerland is not obliged to assist the NATO countries in the event of a military conflict. However, the NATO policy is showing more and more how PfP effectively undermines the principle and the credibility of our neutrality policy.”
To get a clearer picture of the Swiss PfP activities it is worth taking a look into the “2016 exercise program for military training and cooperation”: “The exercise program includes the participation of the Air Force in the multinational exercises Tiger Meet, Jawtex, Nightway, in Tactical Leadership Programme as well as a retraining course for PC-21 pilots. Moreover there is participation in an exercise on the subject of support for civilian authorities in Austria, winter and mountain exercises in the US and in Sweden, several short courses for shooters patrols and reconnaissance with neighbouring states and courses of special forces along with individual foreign partners. [...] The exercises with Swiss participation will take place in the Nordic countries, Germany, Lithuania, Austria, Spain, the United States and in Switzerland.” (Press release of the Federal Council 17.02.2016, excerpts)
National Councillor Adrian Amstutz is addressing this in the following interview (see p. 10). •
1 Motion 14.3746
2 In the National Council with 143 Yes against 13 negative votes 39 abstentions, the Senate unanimously
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