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The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces$
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Hugo Meijer and Marco Wyss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790501

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790501.001.0001

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Austria and Switzerland

Austria and Switzerland

Chapter:
(p.197) 10 Austria and Switzerland
Source:
The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces
Author(s):

Gunther Hauser

Mauro Mantovani

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198790501.003.0011

Since the end of the cold war, Austria and Switzerland have maintained their status of neutrality, but reinterpreted their neutrality policy in pragmatic yet different ways. Both, however, joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative at an early stage. Within the EU and PfP, Austria focused on armed forces interoperability, whereas Switzerland increased its formerly very low contribution to international peace missions. Both alpine republics conducted three major reforms of their armed forces, which entailed a substantial downsizing of overall mobilization strength and weaponry, while maintaining territorial defence as the core mission. Austria and Switzerland both aim at slightly increasing defence expenditures up to the early 2020s as a consequence of widely increased threat perception (owing to mass migration, Islamist terrorism, and a reasserting Russia), yet they will still find it difficult to replace their rapidly ageing main weapons systems. Troop contributions to international operations are likely to remain at at the 2017 levels.

Keywords:   Austrian armed forces, Swiss armed forces, neutrality, transformation, security cooperation, Common Security and Defence Policy, Partnership for Peace

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