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News > Switzerland

Switzerland and Austria Join the European Sky Shield Initiative

  • Western weaponry for ground-based air defense.

    Western weaponry for ground-based air defense. | Photo: Twitter/ @2000grips

Published 7 July 2023

Launched in August 2022, the Sky Shield is a German initiative for ground-based air defense.

On Friday, the Swiss Federal Council (SFC) announced that the defense ministers of Switzerland, Austria and Germany signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their participation in the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).


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Viola Amherd, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, held meetings with Defense Ministers Klaudia Tanner of Austria and Boris Pistorius of Germany in Bern on July 6-7, focusing on the security situation in Europe, the effects of the conflict in Ukraine, trilateral cooperation and military peacebuilding.

The ESSI is a German initiative for ground-based air defense (GBAD) in Europe. It was launched in August 2022 and addresses the need to strengthen air defense in Europe and better focus efforts in the area.

According to the SFC, each country controls the extent of its participation. As part of this MoU, Switzerland will now examine the areas where it will strengthen cooperation, e.g. to improve synergies in the Patriot GBAD system through the exchange of information or cooperation in operations and training.

The tweet reads, "Austria is about to join the European Sky Shield Initiative. Over the weekend, Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced that Austria will join the initiative launched by Berlin in October."

Switzerland and Austria set out their terms regarding neutrality in an additional declaration, stating that they will not participate in international military conflicts.

With the signing of the MoU, Switzerland and Austria are joining the 17 European states already participating in the Germany-led sky shield initiative.

On Friday, the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament also reached a provisional agreement on the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP), aimed at boosting the production of ammunition and missiles in the EU to the benefit of the member states and Ukraine.

Under the agreed regulation, US$545.3 million will be urgently mobilized from the EU budget to support the ramp-up of the manufacturing capacities for the production of ground-to-ground and artillery ammunition as well as missiles.

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