The Swiss House of Representatives has rejected a proposal to authorise the re-export of Swiss-made war materiel to Ukraine.
The decision was voted on Thursday evening with 98 in favour and 75 against – and 2 abstentions. This happened on the same day Switzerland’s President Alain Berset met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the European Political Community (EPC) summit in Moldova.
The House of Representatives has decided that, for the time being, Switzerland will not ease the rules on exporting war material to Ukraine, something a parliamentary committee had recommended last month.
The Security Policy Committee had passed two motions to ease the rules on the re-export of Swiss armaments, which were also approved in a Senate committee. This came after some countries like Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain asked Switzerland to send some Swiss-made ammunitions and weapons to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia.
The Swiss People’s Party, which hold most seats in the House of Representatives, was one of the main opponents of this proposal. The Greens were also against. “Accepting this initiative means committing oneself to one of the protagonists (…) and therefore violating neutrality,” said People’s Party deputy Jean-Luc Addor.
Centre party parliamentarian Thomas Rechsteiner argued that the proposal would have concretely helped Ukraine. “With this, a very small window was found to send a signal that Switzerland is somehow making a contribution in this conflict.”