The Swiss, Austrian and German defence ministers gather for a meeting every year. This year’s meeting is being held in Bern and hosted by Ms Amherd, the head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS). Austria is represented by Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner and Germany by Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.
Talks on the war in Ukraine and expanding international cooperation
This year the trilateral talks will address the war in Ukraine, its impact on security policy in Europe and the consequences for their own security policies. The defence ministers will also discuss how Ukraine can be supported in defending itself against the attack by Russia.
Switzerland, Germany and Austria have personnel deployed in Kosovo as part of the KFOR mission, where current tensions in the north of the country are a cause for concern. The future of military peace support in the Western Balkans in particular will therefore be a further focus of the talks. The UN decision to end the MINUSMA mandate and withdraw from Mali shows the challenges in this area.
Finally, the talks will also address the expansion of trilateral cooperation between the three neighbouring countries. The Federal Council intends to orient Switzerland's security and defence policy more consistently towards international cooperation – while maintaining its neutrality – than has been the case to date.
Among other things, a memorandum of understanding is due to be signed on the participation of Switzerland and Austria in the European Sky Shields Initiative, a procurement initiative for ground-based air defence systems led by Germany.
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