Switzerland to Participate in European Sky Shied Defence Project

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 03:12 PM, July 4, 2023
  • 559
Switzerland to Participate in European Sky Shied Defence Project
German IRIS-T SAM air defence system @NATO

Switzerland wants to take part in the Sky Shield air defence project with 17 other European countries.

"Switzerland wishes to participate in the European Sky Shield Initiative and a declaration of intent is due to be signed in Bern," the country’s Defence Ministry confirmed to Reuters today.

Swiss Defence Minister Viola Amherd could sign a formal agreement to join the programme during a meeting with her counterparts from Austria and Germany on July 7.

European Sky Shield is a common air defence scheme set up by Germany last year to boost European air defence. Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Romania, the United Kingdom have agreed to participate in the  European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).

“This commitment is even more crucial today, as we witness the ruthless and indiscriminate missile attacks by Russia in Ukraine, killing civilians and destroying critical infrastructure. In this context, I strongly welcome Germany’s leadership in launching the European Sky Shield Initiative,” NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said back in October.

He added: “The new assets, fully interoperable and seamlessly integrated within the NATO air and missile defence, would significantly enhance our ability to defend the Alliance from all air and missile threats.”

The initiative aims to cut costs for countries by coordinating their procurement of air and missile defence systems such as the American Patriot. It also aims to enable cooperation in training, maintenance and logistics.

The Sky Shield move has irked Switzerland's neutrality lobby.

Werner Gartenmann of the lobby group Pro Schweiz said, “This does not fit with a strictly neutral Switzerland.”

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