Rification between Switzerland and NATO: a letter creates unease

Rification between Switzerland and NATO: a letter creates unease
Rification between Switzerland and NATO: a letter creates unease

“The Swiss ambassador to NATO in Brussels, Philippe Brandt, co-signed an explosive letter in December,” reports the “SonntagsBlick”, citing an article from the Austrian newspaper “Die Presse”. The letter calls for closer cooperation of neutral countries – Switzerland, Austria, Malta and Ireland – with NATO, including military simulations (read box).

But at the Federal Palace we are unaware of the very existence of this letter. “I will ask the DDPS why we have not been informed of this until now,” says Priska Seiler Graf (PS/ZH), chair of the Security Policy Committee (SPC) of the National Council. However, she welcomes the direction of the Federal Council: “Getting closer does not mean joining NATO.”

No “creeping” membership

Another story from the UDC, which has just tabled its initiative on neutrality on Saturday and which warns against creeping accession to NATO. Werner Salzmann (UDC/BE), President of the SPC of the Council of States, believes that “the priority now is to restore the defense capacity of our army. We need a defense doctrine as quickly as possible. Without this basis, we cannot acquire in a targeted manner, nor practice properly, nor prepare ourselves for possible cooperations.”

Neutrality respected according to the FDFA

As for the Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), “it sees nothing new in the flirtation with NATO,” reports the German-speaking newspaper. In the past, Switzerland has already participated in meetings of the North Atlantic Council and even in CMX exercises (read box)all this “with respect for neutrality”, according to the DFAE.

Reconciliation in 5 points

The letter from the ambassadors of the four neutral countries (Switzerland, Austria, Malta and Ireland) provides for a five-point rapprochement with NATO:

1. More frequent and intense exchanges with allies and partners.

2. Privileged access to documents and information for WEP4 and an intensification of the exchange of intelligence data.

3. Common engagement in developing standards and policy areas.

4. Intensification of joint crisis management, including Switzerland’s participation in Crisis Management Exercises (CMX), simulations, without real weapons, of the reaction to an attack in which Defense Ministers participate.

5. Strengthening the field of innovation, particularly in terms of armaments, an area where the WEP4 fear being left behind.

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