– Amherd wants to coordinate arms purchases with Austria and Germany
“European Sky Shield” is the name of a project by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who traveled to Bern on Friday. Switzerland wants to be there, along with 16 other European countries.
How should the Swiss Army respond to the threat from the east? How should she defend against enemy drones, cruise missiles and guided missiles and thus protect herself against the threat? Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Swiss political and specialist circles have been speculating. Because there are no concrete plans coming into effect soon.
The last time you heard from Federal Councilor Viola Amherd was last year. In response to the outbreak of war in Ukraine, he said: “We need to buy the new F-35 fighter jet and the new Patriot surface-to-air defense system.” There is radio silence as Parliament heeds Amherd’s call. Problematic from a security perspective: It will take up to seven years for America’s modern systems to be ready for use in Switzerland.
The “European Sky Shield” wants to strengthen the dilapidated air defenses in Europe.
Surprising new things are now known: Federal Councilor Viola Amherd, her Austrian counterpart Claudia Tanner and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius intend to sign a joint declaration in Bern on Friday. This was reported by German and Austrian media on Monday “Click”.
Accordingly, as part of a European project known as the “European Sky Shield Initiative”, the purchase of weapons to deter enemy air attacks is to be jointly agreed in the future. The “European Sky Shield” was created last August at the initiative of German Defense Minister Pistorius and aims to strengthen the dilapidated air defense in Europe and consolidate joint efforts.
Procurement programs for air defense are to be jointly contracted by participating forces in Europe to achieve lower costs in the arms market. This collaboration should also enable discounting in the areas of maintenance and logistics.
Isn’t neutrality affected?
Amherd’s defense ministry insists that this is possible without any problems even for neutrals like Switzerland. In the future, each participating country can define where and to what extent it wants to participate. After signing the (initially non-binding) declaration of intent, Switzerland will explore where to specifically strengthen cooperation with other countries. “For example, the new Swiss surface-to-air defense system Patriot could strengthen coordination, for example, in information exchange and operational and training cooperation,” says the Department of Defense (VBS). This leads to cost savings.
From the point of view of DDPS, joint procurement of new security systems is also conceivable – especially for shorter distances. Switzerland already has a problem: the military (except for a few Stinger guided missiles and a few 35mm cannons) does not have a viable defense system for nationwide drone defense now or in the future. The new Patriot system, which should be available from 2030, is designed for longer ranges.
According to the DDPS, future participation in several areas is possible for neutral states. In the present case, Switzerland and Austria intend to register their reservations under the neutrality act in a supplementary notification.
Participation or involvement in international military conflicts should be rejected. By signing the Declaration of Intent, neutral Austria and Switzerland intend to join the cooperation of a total of 17 European countries behind the “European Sky Shield” project.
Benjamin Gaffner He has been a Federal House editor since 2000. His report focuses on security and migration policy issues.More info