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Switzerland intends to join the European Sky Shield Initiative

By Defence Industry Europe, Reuters

Switzerland has expressed its intention to participate in the European Sky Shield Initiative established by Germany in 2022. According to Reuters, the move has raised criticism due to Switzerland's long-standing tradition of neutrality.

The European Sky Shield Initiative aims to bolster European air defence capabilities, particularly in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Swiss Defence Minister Viola Amherd is set to sign a declaration of intent to join the program during a meeting with her counterparts from Austria and Germany.

Seventeen European countries, including Germany, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, have already joined the European Sky Shield Initiative project. The initiative aims to streamline the procurement of air and missile defence systems, such as the Arrow 3 ballistic missile defence system, while fostering cooperation in training, maintenance, and logistics.

Switzerland, known for its neutral stance, has faced increasing pressure from neighboring European nations to support Ukraine militarily following Russia’s invasion.

According to Reuters, the decision to participate in the European Sky Shield Initiative has sparked concerns among neutrality advocates, who argue that it compromises Switzerland’s status and makes the country dependent on foreign powers and NATO.

Critics, such as Werner Gartenmann from the lobby group Pro Schweiz, worry that the move could potentially make Switzerland a target and erode its neutrality.

Despite these concerns, Switzerland’s participation in the European Sky Shield Initiative signals a strategic alignment with European partners in the realm of air defence cooperation.

 

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