Switzerland’s government says the nation remains neutral. However, some believe that the adoption of sanctions against Russia implemented by the EU has undermined the country’s neutrality. To redress this, a group has started the process of collecting signatures to launch a federal vote on the issue, reported RTS.
Switzerland’s current approach to foreign policy is to accept measures taken internationally, said Walter Wobmann, one of the vote organisers. Bern has accepted all of the EU’s sanctions, said Wobmann. As a result, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky view Swiss neutrality as dead and buried. The credibility of claims that Switzerland can provide Good Offices1 have gone, he said.
Stephanie Gartenmann, another member of the organising committee, underlined the global importance of Swiss neutrality in establishing peace deals. There are 20 wars taking place. Switzerland must not concentrate only on the conflict in Ukraine, said Gartenmann. It must not be blind to the others or be a puppet of the EU or US, she said.
The text of the initiative aims to ensure Swiss neutrality by setting limits on what the Federal Council and parliament can do. Membership of any military alliance would be excluded unless there was a direct military attack. And the federal government would not be allowed to participate in military conflicts or sanction belligerent nations unless it was decided by the UN.
Currently, Switzerland’s neutrality is based on optional armed neutrality and is not defined in the constitution.
A notable supporter of the plan is Christoph Blocher, the former leader of the Swiss Peoples Party (UDC/SVP).
The process of signature collection was launched on 8 November 2022. Vote organisers now have until 8 May 2024 to collect the required 100,000 signatures.
1Good Offices is a term in international law and international relations under the UN Charter that refers to all diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives by a third country or a neutral institution whose purpose is to resolve a bilateral or international conflict or to bring the parties to the negotiating table.