Swiss and Austrian armies consider collaboration

Austrian Defense Minister Gerald Klug (left) and Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer presented their plans for cooperation on Thursday Keystone

The Swiss and Austrian defence ministers have announced that they are considering ways of strengthening the two countries’ cooperation in security policy. Plans include common basic training of soldiers and cooperation in air transport.

This content was published on April 16, 2015 - 22:13 and agencies

On an official visit to Switzerland on Thursday, Austrian Defence Minister Gerald Klug praised the excellent relations between the two countries.

“Switzerland and Austria are natural partners,” he stated.

In a pilot project foreseen for 2016, recruits from the neighbouring countries would participate in a three- to four-week exercise at the end of their basic training.

This would provide “significant added value for our recruits,” Klug said.

In addition, Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer was interested in a common solution for air transport. The Austrian Federal Army possesses three Hercules C-30 transport aircraft, which Maurer said is “just what we’re looking for”. A “firm offer” from the Austrians could possibly lead to a purchase. That would be a “win-win situation”, according to Maurer.

The two men also announced plans to invite further countries, such as the Scandinavians and Ireland, to a summit for the "free and neutral countries of Europe" in the following year. The goal would be to define the role that neutral countries could play in various conflicts.

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