Council of States Debates The Army Budget

Council of States Debates The Army Budget

Mon, Jun 3rd 2024

The Council of States discusses boosting the army budget and procuring air defence systems, addressing European security concerns.

KEYSTONE/Peter Schneider

The Council of States is debating the army dispatch on Monday. The preliminary committee proposes increasing the army budget by CHF 4 billion over four years, surpassing the Federal Council’s suggestion. Additionally, they seek an extra CHF 660 million for air defense systems in the armaments program.

In February, the national government presented key figures on the armed forces’ strategic orientation for the next twelve years and a CHF 25.8 billion payment framework for 2025 to 2028. The Council of States’ Security Policy Committee (SIK-S) finds this insufficient and proposes CHF 29.8 billion, aiming for the army budget to reach 1 % of GDP by 2030.

The Federal Council also requests Parliament’s approval for CHF 4.9 billion in commitment credits for military equipment, the 2024 armaments program, and the Defence Department’s real estate program.

The armaments program involves CHF 490 million for mobile sensors, guided weapons, and PC-7 aircraft maintenance. The preliminary consultation committee seeks an additional CHF 660 million to purchase medium-range air defense systems a year earlier than planned, citing the need to strengthen Switzerland’s defense due to the war in Ukraine.

Left against Increase:

Opposing the increase, Franziska Roth (SP, Solothurn) and Mathias Zopfi (Green, Glarus) call for retaining the Federal Council’s plans. Roth further advocates for limiting the army’s budget to CHF 16 billion.

Following the army dispatch presentation in February, the SP criticized the Federal Council’s financial plans, arguing they would deplete the federal budget and affect other security-related tasks.

The Council of States will also consider a motion from the FDP, SVP, and MCG representatives demanding the CHF 4 billion increase be compensated in international cooperation.

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