Friday

15th Dec 2017

Swiss army prepares for euro unrest

  • Protester in Spain: Swiss officials are wary of spreading violence due to the euro-crisis (Photo: Fotomovimiento)

The Swiss army is preparing for possible internal civil unrest as well as waves of refugees from euro-countries as the economic crisis drags on.

Switzerland, a non-EU, non-euro country landlocked between eurozone states, last month launched a military exercise to test its preparedness to deal with refugees and civil unrest.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“It's not excluded that the consequences of the financial crisis in Switzerland can lead to protests and violence,” a spokesperson of the Swiss defence ministry told CNBC on Monday. “The army must be ready when the police in such cases requests for subsidiary help.”

Some 2,000 officers took part in the "Stabilo Due" military exercise in eight towns around the country, based on a risk map detailing the threat of internal unrest between warring factions and the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, according to Swiss media reports.

Swiss defence minister Uli Maurer recently told Schweizer Soldat magazine that there may be an escalation of violence in Europe. "I can’t exclude that in the coming years we may need the army," he said.

Der Sonntag newspaper reported that army chief Andre Blattmann intends to table a proposal for the potential deployment of 1,600 troops to guard airports, industrial plants and international headquarters in Geneva.

An online campaign against Switzerland's mandatory military service (GSoA) meanwhile is arguing that the army is in an "existential crisis" and is looking for a new reason to exist. "It is time to show a red card to the military heads and to lift mandatory service," the campaign group writes.

A referendum could be called next year to decide whether to keep or scrap conscription to the 200,000-strong army, the highest concentration of military men in a European country in relation to the overall population.

The Swiss military plans come as protests against austerity measure in Greece, Spain and Portugal have turned violent in recent weeks.

The Portuguese government on Monday unveiled the harshest budget in decades, with an income tax hike by almost four percent and massive lay-offs in the public sector in order to meet EU targets for deficit and debt.

"Asking for more time would lead us to a dictatorship of debt and to failure," Portuguese finance minister Vitor Gaspar said as about 2,000 protesters gathered in front of the parliament and a general strike was called for 14 November.

In Greece, an unprecedented 7,000 policemen were deployed last week to keep German Chancellor Angela Merkel safe from stone-hurling Greeks. Meanwhile a few days after, Coca-Cola, the main foreign investor in Greece, announced it would leave the country and move to Switzerland.

Analysis

EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states

Brexit will dramatically change the balance between EU members states that have the euro and those that don't. The thinking on the future of the eurozone is done at EU-27 level - but opposing camps will have to be reconciled.

Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland

Public pressure about low corporate taxes appear to have pressured Facebook to launch plans to stop routing international ad sales through its Dublin-based headquarters in Ireland.

Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland

Public pressure about low corporate taxes appear to have pressured Facebook to launch plans to stop routing international ad sales through its Dublin-based headquarters in Ireland.

News in Brief

  1. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  2. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  3. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  4. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  5. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  6. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  7. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont
  8. French central bank lifts 2017 growth forecast

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  2. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  3. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states
  4. EU asylum debate reopens old wounds
  5. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  6. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  7. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  8. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU