Scarce yes for arms exports to conflict countries

FDP and SVP offer support to the Federal Council in the Commission for easing the export regulations for armaments. They also consider a consultation as unnecessary.

Heidi Gmür, Bern

The National Council Committee has 13 to 12 votes behind the weakening of the war material ordinance. (Image: Ennio Leanza / Keystone)

The National Council Committee has 13 to 12 votes behind the weakening of the war material ordinance. (Image: Ennio Leanza / Keystone)

The question of whether the export provisions for defense equipment should be softened remains highly controversial. As in the Federal Council, the narrow majority of SVP and FDP had the upper hand in the National Council's Security Policy Committee on Monday. For example, the Commission rejected it with 13 to 12 votes to authorize the federal council to abandon the planned amendment of the War Material Regulation. Although the Federal Council still has to consult the Security Council of the Council of States, it is likely that there will be less resistance there than in the National Council Commission. After all, it was the politicians of state security who had caused the regulation change on the basis of a corresponding request from the defense industry in general. As a result, it is now expected that the federal council will continue the review as planned. According to this, Swiss weapons should also be exported to countries with an internal armed conflict in the future, provided that there is no reason to believe that the war material will be used in this conflict; The Federal Council had already taken the decision of principle in June.

No broad debate

The extremely limited outcome of the debate in the National Council Committee was foreseeable after the three CVP representatives had voted against the amendment of the regulation in the NZZ in July. Even CVP chairman Gerhard Pfister called the easing at the time as superfluous and reaffirmed his negative attitude on Monday in the "view". In the Commission, CVP, SP, Greens, Green Liberals and BDP have now referred, among other things, to the reputational damage that Switzerland has under foreign policy, as it eases the export requirements, as the Commission has announced. According to the majority of the Commission, the relaxation of licensing practice is compatible with Switzerland's obligations under international law and especially if Switzerland wishes to maintain an "industrial capacity that is adapted to the needs of national defense".

The Federal Council also justified its decision in June with this security argument, without substantiating it in concrete terms. He merely stated that arms exports had been more or less constant for several years, but that the local arms industry was dependent on exports because of the limited domestic sales market in order to survive in international competition. On the other hand, he left open the degree to which the planned easing would stimulate exports and secure the industrial defense that would be necessary for national defense. Instead, Minister of Economy Johann Schneider-Ammann satisfied the critics with the statement that the easing of the & # 39; export behavior & # 39; would not fundamentally influence. The minority of the Commission also speaks of a "pseudo-argument".

It also criticizes the fact that the Federal Council is refraining from sending the controversial regulation change to a public consultation. An application from the CVP to involve the Federal Council with a consultation also failed in the committee with the votes of the 13 FDP and SVP members. CVP security politician Alois Gmür deeply regrets this, as he said on request. The decision was all the more incomprehensible, and the proponents argued that it was an important change in favor of the security of Switzerland.

Upswing for BDP requirement

Because of this refusal, a motion from the BDP should now also receive a boost with the CVP. The BDP requires that the current approval criteria for the export of war material in the war material ordinance be canceled and transferred to the War Material Act. That is why Parliament should decide in the future, and possibly also by the population, whether the referendum should be approved. The support from the left is the movement in any case safe.

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