Defense Minister Guy Parmelin is trying to close the rows two years before the planned vote on the renewal of the Air Force: in society, but also in the army. The lack of unity among senior officers was considered one of the main reasons why predecessor Ueli Maurer 2014 lost the vote for the purchase of Swedish Gripen jet fighters.
Research shows: Early August, the Ministry of Defense (VBS) 19 "organizations relevant for security and military policy" invited to participate in a contact group; The letter is available for "Northwestern Switzerland."
The participants in the new group are expected to meet about six times in Bern and Thun in November 2019 with those responsible for the "Air2030" project, to ask questions and exchange opinions. "This should identify weak points and enable broad support," writes the DDPS. The first meeting takes place in one week.
Repeat mistakes of 2014 not
Among the requested organizations are natural candidates such as the air force officers or the Giardino group, but also two military far away groups: the Women & # 39; s Federation Alliance F and the Swiss Association of Youth Associations . According to a VBS spokesperson, these were not invited because of their military expertise, but because "the worries, questions and worries of women and young people" probably did not receive enough attention at the last vote.
According to the Vox analysis after the poll, only 42 percent of women voted for the purchase of the 22 Gripen hunters for the price of 3 in 2014, 1 billion Swiss francs, compared with 53 percent for men.
It is also striking who is missing on the invitation list of the DDPS: the four federal government parties. Only in April 2016, when Parmelin set up a first escort group to prepare for the renewal of the air force, SP, CVP, FDP and SVP topped the list of invitations. The DDPS says that, unlike the facilitating group, the new contact group is no longer working on making recommendations, but on keeping in touch with the organizations they write to. This is already the case with the parties: "The politicians and parties receive their information through their seat on the security policy committees."
The DDPS also asks the invited groups not to send politicians to the contact group: "The charge to prevent individual members of parliament from obtaining an information advantage should, if possible, no active parliamentarians be determined." In 2016 a current member of the parliamentary group part of the control group with SP council member Géraldine Savary
Maximum or minimum?
Two important questions The Federal Council will have to respond by November with regard to the next steps in the air change tender process and the financial framework. VBS boss Parmelin prefers to include the project in a planning decision: this is a fundamental decision about the purchase of new fighter aircraft and a new anti-aircraft system, combined with a fixed amount. Air force opponents, if they want to keep the referendum, can be considered almost certain.
It is already clear: the variant planning decision runs until September 22, the consultation, not enthusiastic. Critics, including the FDP, fear the introduction of an armed referendum through the back door. Resistance is also provoked against the eight billion francs that the Federal Council wants to spend "as much as possible" on the renewal of the Luftwaffe. Military circles require minimum & # 39; nine billion francs – as much as SVP magistrate Parmelin had initially asked his government colleague in the spring.