Swiss against joining NATO but in favour of closer cooperation

Local residents stand on a destroyed Russian tank in the outskirts of Kyiv on Monday Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Most Swiss want to see closer cooperation with intergovernmental defence alliance NATO, according to a representative survey. However, they do not want to become a member.

This content was published on April 17, 2022 - 12:00

Against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 35% of respondents supported closer cooperation with NATO, while 21% were “somewhat” in favour, SonntagsBlick revealed on SundayExternal link. But only 19% were definitely in favour of joining the alliance and another 14% were probably in favour of doing so.

Almost half (47%) of respondents thought the principle of Swiss neutrality was not violated by the adoption of EU sanctions against Russia. A further 11% tended to agree with this opinion.

In addition, 61% of respondents were in favour of Switzerland becoming more involved in Ukraine. However, 66% rejected delivering arms. On the other hand, 62% were in favour of Switzerland sending helmets and protective vests to Ukraine.

The representative survey of 20,000 participants was conducted by the research institute Sotomo together with the Blick Group between April 12 and 14.

Swiss cooperation

Since 1953 Switzerland has participated in military peacekeeping activities which are now conducted under the leadership of NATO, the EU and the UN. It has been a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since 1975.

In 1996 Switzerland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, and in 2019 it became a member of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). In 2012 Switzerland and the European Defence Agency (EDA) signed a Framework for Cooperation in the field of armaments cooperation and military training.

Switzerland is currently assessing whether to participate in individual PESCO projects. PESCO is the Permanent Structured Cooperation of EU member states which want to be engaged in the Common Security and Defence Policy. PESCO is also termed a “Military Schengen” as it is inspired by the EU’s Schengen Area with the aim to create a European army. According to the Swiss Army, Switzerland’s plan to participate is still at early stages.

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