No to halving of the Swiss Armed Forces

Referendum against the WEA (“Weiterentwicklung der Armee” – Armed Forces Development)

by Dr iur Marianne WŁthrich

As reported in “Current Concerns”, the National Council rejected a motion to exit from the NATO programme “Partnership for Peace” in its spring session – although neutral Switzerland really and truly has no place in the NATO war exercises directed against the East. Simultaneously the euphemistically named “Armed Forces Development” (WEA) was – after long debates – adopted with a clear margin by both chambers of Parliament in the final vote of 18 March (see Current Concerns No 8 from 12 April 2016).
The “Citizens Committee for our Security – NO to halving of the Swiss Armed Forces” has launched a referendum against WEA with the support of the “Group Giardino” and other citizens groups. The referendum deadline is on 7 July. The Committees are calling for the observance of the constitutional cornerstones of Swiss security policy and thus for an army that must once more be able to protect the territory and the population of Switzerland.

“If the Development of the Swiss Armed Forces (WEA) is to be implemented in the same way as was the reform “Army XXI”, Switzerland will soon be defenceless and not live according to the precept of Armed Neutrality any longer. Fantasies about security through international cooperation will not help. Which foreign country or organisation would agree to stand by a Switzerland that, despite its unique prosperity, is not ready to raise an adequate portion of public expenditure for its own security?”

Dr iur Carlo Jagmetti, former Swiss Ambassador to the US, former Lieutenant Colonel on the General Staff in “Wohin steuert die schweizerische Sicherheitspolitik 2016? (Where is the Swiss security going in 2016)” in Pro Militia No 1/2016

“What was at the beginning of this Armed Forces Development? It is very important to recall this. At the beginning of this Armed Forces development it was de facto cut in half. Today we have an army of 200,000 men, including the reserve, and the future army will have 100,000 men – and that at a time when the threat around us is getting ever greater and when other states are instead increasing their armies”.

Ueli Maurer, Federal Councillor, verbatim record Nation Council,
summer session 2015, 18 June 2015