Cross-party committee launches Federal Popular Initiative to preserve Swiss neutrality

Cross-party committee launches Federal Popular Initiative to preserve Swiss neutrality

On Tuesday, 8 November 2022, a cross-party committee headed by National Councillor Walter Wobmann launched the neutrality initiative at a press conference in Bern. Together with other members of the committee, he explained the objective and the purpose of the initiative.

Why is the neutrality initiative needed?

During its first three hundred years, Swiss neutrality was primarily used to support domestic policy. By contrast over the last two hundred years, it has acted in the service of foreign policy. Switzerland did not invent neutrality, but it has given it a unique character in many respects. Switzerland’s neutral status is fundamentally different from the neutrality of other states. Swiss neutrality is armed and permanent. It does not involve the membership of any alliances. In neutral Switzerland, defence or military alliances with other states are not permitted. Swiss neutrality is freely chosen and has not been imposed by foreign powers. In the 1815 Treaty of Paris, neutrality lasting several centuries was reconfirmed at the request of the Swiss. Finally, Swiss neutrality was integral, at least until recently, and all-embracing. As a result of our armed neutrality, we emerged largely unscathed from two dreadful world wars.
  The concept of “cooperative neutrality” recently invented by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which is accompanied by the unconditional adoption of EU sanctions, is the regrettable result of these developments. They have brought an end to Swiss neutrality as the world has known it up until this point.
  If the political elite loses its bearings, the electorate must put it back on the correct course. The neutrality initiative indicates the way back to permanent, comprehensive, armed neutrality for Switzerland.

The fundamental requirements of the initiative

  • “Swiss neutrality” must be preserved.
  • “Swiss neutrality” must apply permanently and without exception.
  • “Swiss neutrality” must be armed and must include an army that is capable of defending the country and its people in case of attack.
  • Switzerland must not become a member of any military or defence alliance. The only exception is in the event of a direct military attack against Switzerland.
  • Switzerland must not become involved in military conflicts and must not take non-military coercive measures, in other words, “sanctions” against the warring states.
  • Switzerland will use its permanent neutrality for good offices with the aim of preventing and resolving conflicts.

With its neutral stance, Switzerland is the unconditional advocate of peace throughout the world, working to ensure that people in conflict regions are freed from the risk of violence. Swiss neutrality is of service to all the countries in the world.  •

Contact: President of the initiative committee – Walter Wobmann; – +41 79 435 45 61
Further information:


Swiss Federal Popular Initiative

“Preservation of Swiss Neutrality (Neutrality Initiative)”

The Federal Constitution will be amended as follows:

Art. 54a Swiss neutrality

  1. Switzerland is neutral. Its neutrality is permanent and armed.
  2. Switzerland does not join any military or defence alliances. The exception is the cooperation with these alliances in the event of a direct military attack on Switzerland or of preparations for an attack of this kind.
  3. Switzerland does not take part in military conflicts between third countries and does not impose non-military sanctions on warring states. The exceptions are obligations to the United Nations (UN) and measures to prevent the circumvention of non-military sanctions by other states.
  4. Switzerland makes use of its permanent neutrality to prevent and resolve conflicts. It acts as a mediator.

Swiss neutrality – a project for peace

by Dr phil. René Roca, Forschungsinstitut direkte Demokratie (*

First of all, I would like to say something about the history of the initiative. Until today, the press has repeatedly claimed that the initiative is a “Blocher initiative”. That is not true. I, for example, am not a party member. Christoph Blocher was the idea generator and, so to speak, caused the initial spark for the initiative. I also thought about launching an initiative. That’s why I was in the preparatory group. This group was politically mixed, interdisciplinary and wrestled for months over the initiative text (10 versions). Everyone was able to contribute on an equal footing, including myself. In addition, two independent legal opinions were obtained. Thus, this process was broadly supported politically and in terms of content. For me, this process was exemplary if you want to launch a popular initiative. The initiative text is accordingly balanced and a good compromise. The text was not hatched in some back room. The initiative is, therefore, neither a Blocher initiative nor an SVP initiative. The fact that other party representatives have now partly backed out because they had reservations about the proximity to Christoph Blocher is not the initiative’s problem. I would ask the press to take note of this history. If you have any further questions, I will be happy to answer them.
  Now I would like to add a few words about the history of neutrality in Switzerland. (If you would like to study the history of Swiss neutrality in more detail, I refer you to my text in the press kit). Why is this initiative necessary? It is urgently needed, because Switzerland must return to integral neutrality. The text of the initiative shows you what “integral neutrality” means. Integral neutrality takes into account the law of neutrality and is governed by a neutrality policy that promotes an active role by Switzerland in the search for peace. In addition, the work of the ICRC is supported and Switzerland’s good offices are taken seriously. In other words, Switzerland is any-thing but passive, but uses all diplomatic channels to defuse a conflict, achieve a ceasefire and initiate peace talks. Integral neutrality in particular does not mean that Switzerland is “neutral in terms of opinion”. Its foundation is general and humanitarian international law as well as the human rights based on it, as enshrined in two UN human rights covenants. Switzerland has not lived up to this integral neutrality for 30 years. Since Switzerland supported the economic sanctions against Iraq in the First Gulf War in 1991, there has been a steady erosion of Swiss neutrality. Today, it can no longer even be called differential neutrality. Today, Switzerland is no longer neutral, neutrality has been abolished, as the USA, Russia and other states confirm.
  Let me conclude: Swiss neutrality was a project for peace, history shows us that. With the initiative, Switzerland regains its integral neutrality and thus the room for manoeuvre it needs in order to be able to have a beneficial effect in conflicts again. It strengthens the back of the Federal Council and the Parliament to formulate and push for a peace policy with self-confidence that does not bow to any power, neither to a great or world power nor to the economy.
  I am glad that we can now discuss the future direction of Switzerland in terms of neutrality with the population. In Switzerland, with its direct democracy, the people have the final say and thus determine the direction they want to take and do not submit to the dictates of the Federal Council or Parliament. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope for an open and fair discussion and look forward to future debates.
  Thank you very much for your attention.  •

 * Contribution by Dr René Roca to the media conference on the Neutrality Initiative on 8 November 2022 in Berne

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