Swiss are more confident about safety at home but look at the situation abroad with trepidation according to an annual survey.
According to the 2019 Security Reportexternal link by the military academy at the Center for Security Studies of Swiss federal technology institute ETH Zurich, some 90% of the 1,200 Swiss surveyed feel safe walking alone at night near their homes.
The study attributes high levels of safety, comparable to the previous year, as linked to the strong economic situation and confidence in the political system.
The survey revealed higher level of trusts in institutions than the previous year with the police viewed as the most trusted. The judiciary occupies second place in terms of trust, followed by the Federal Council and the Swiss economy.
The Federal Parliament and the Armed Forces enjoy the same degree of trust. As in the previous year, the media and political parties ranked last in the trust index.
Sources of pessimism
There were sources of pessimism though, specifically migration followed by fears of violence, concerns about social security, and climate change.
A growing source of pessimism is the global political situation, aggravated by power politics of the US, China and Russia that the Swiss view as a threat to the world. The degree of trust in countries ranges from 92% for Germany and 73% for France compared to 28% for the US, 22% for China, and 16% for Russia.
The report notes that US President Donald Trump was mentioned by name several times as the cause of the pessimistic assessment. Although the majority of respondents believe that current US policy is detrimental to the Swiss economy, they still regard the US as a reliable trading partner.
From the safety of Switzerland, many respondents indicated concerns about opening up, particularly in formal, institutionalized relationships, with 80% of respondents indicating that Switzerland should not join the EU. A similar proportion want to strengthen economic cooperation with the EU.
Views of the military
Some four out of five respondents believe the Swiss Armed Forces is necessary and are satisfied with its performance. Younger generations (18-29-year-olds) have a more sceptical attitude of the military than older respondents.
There is also more support (60%) of the militia system as a form of defence and recruitment than in previous years. Half believe the military budget is reasonable and a third consider it too high.
The vast majority of respondents believe it is important that members of the military enjoy the same opportunities, regardless of language, gender, sexual orientation and religion. However, just over half (55%) believe that, due to physical demands of the military, women are not able to perform certain tasks.