The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Parties argue over army budget after liquidity bottlenecks

Following the discovery of liquidity gaps in the army, the SP wants to have the matter investigated and suspend further expenditure until then. The Alliance for Security Switzerland, which is dominated by the middle classes, is different: it is calling for the budget to be increased more quickly.

"Swiss politicians are currently not making enough money available to the army," wrote the Alliance in a statement on Friday. The organization has broad political support. The board includes well-known representatives from bourgeois parties and large business associations.

According to its own figures, the army lacks around 11.7 billion Swiss francs to achieve its defense capability. For the Swiss Security Alliance, it is therefore clear that the goal of making one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) available for the army budget by 2030 must be taken up again and politically enforced.

It was only in December that the Councils followed the Federal Council and approved the extension of the budget increase until 2035. Now the turnaround: The Swiss Security Alliance will convene a round table to formulate constructive proposals to politicians on compliance with the two constitutional principles - national defense and the debt brake, according to the press release.

"History of bad planning"

The left takes a completely different view: the SP and the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (Gsoa) are calling on the army to be "fully transparent". Both the responsible parliamentary committees and the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) should shed light on the matter. Furthermore, no additional money should flow to the army until the facts have been clarified.

Zurich SP National Councillor Fabian Molina used drastic words in front of the media in Bern on Friday: "The scandal surrounding the army's finances is unprecedented in its quality," he said - even though the army has had procurement and financial problems for some time. "It is a story of poor planning."

Molina wants to know who knew about the latest developments and when, and who bears responsibility for them. He provided the answer himself: "The political responsibility lies with Defense Minister Viola Amherd, she should finally take a stand."

Halt to military spending demanded

Until the numerous questions have been clarified, no new money should be spent on the army, demanded Sarah Wyss, SP National Councillor for Basel. If it does go that far, this should not lead to any cost-cutting measures in other areas.

According to a report by Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) on Wednesday, the Swiss Armed Forces will lack over one billion Swiss francs by the end of 2025 to pay for armaments purchases already made. On Thursday, Süssli therefore had to answer questions from the Security Policy Committee of the Council of States (SIK-S).

Süssli then put the initial situation into perspective. No mistakes had been made. "We don't have a financial hole and we can pay all the bills." The situation is "not a drama", but a problem that can be solved.

©Keystone/SDA

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