Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
NATO: Partnership for Peace
After the end of the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) suggested to its former enemies in the Warsaw Pact that together they create a framework for confidence-building cooperation. In 1994 this gave rise to the Partnership for Peace (PfP), a pragmatic and flexible instrument for cooperation between NATO and its partner countries.
Today, 20 states in eastern and southeastern Europe, the southern Caucasus, Central Asia and western Europe (the five neutral and formerly non-aligned European countries: Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden) are involved in this partnership. Each country can specify to NATO those areas in which it wishes to cooperate with the other PfP participants.
The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) – founded in 1997 – is a forum for political consultation in which the 26 NATO member states and their 20 PfP partner states exchange both information and views on current security-related issues. The EAPC meets once a month at ambassadorial level and once a year at foreign minister/defence minister level. The meetings are held in Brussels.
The Partnership for Peace and Swiss foreign policy
- The PfP provides Switzerland with an institutional framework for dialogue on security-related issues with other countries within its strategic sphere. This is all the more important given that Switzerland is one of the few countries between the Atlantic and Ukraine that belongs neither to the European Union (EU), which has its own common security and defence policy, nor to NATO. The PfP gives Switzerland access to other NATO partnerships with the countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It can therefore forge ties to important foreign and security-policy regions.
- The PfP provides Switzerland with a platform on which to raise important foreign and security-policy issues, such as: the spread of international humanitarian law, the reform of the security sector, the democratic control of armed forces, long-term cooperation on security risks, counter-terrorism and cooperation on the planning of civil emergencies. Switzerland offers its partner countries regular training courses and seminars on these subjects and takes part in technical support projects. This enables it to intensify its bilateral relations as well.
- NATO is a central instrument for the transformation of armed forces and their adaptation to the challenges of the 21st century. The PfP helps prepare Switzerland’s armed forces for their participation in peace-keeping missions under the command of NATO, the EU or the United Nations (UN).