Swiss Government Wants To Reduce Army Budget Hike| MENAFN.COM

Friday, 27 January 2023 01:21 GMT

Swiss Government Wants To Reduce Army Budget Hike

(MENAFN- Swissinfo)

The government has revealed its savings ideas for the 2024 budget, including a smaller than planned boost in military spending.

This content was published on January 26, 2023 - 09:31 January 26, 2023 - 09:31 Keystone-SDA/SRF/dos

The pre-budget plans announced on Wednesday come as a response to some CHF2 billion ($2.18 billion) in new spending decided by parliament, and which the government is worried could create a deficit in state coffers.

One such spending spree decided last summer by parliamentarians was a progressive boost in annual military spending, from CHF5.6 billion to CHF7 billion by 2030.

Coming after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this decision aimed to raise the army budget gradually to reach at least 1% of Swiss gross domestic product.

The government now wants to cut the planned expansion by CHF300 million in 2024, CHF500 million in 2025, and up to CHF800 million in 2026. For ministers, this still represents an increase of some 3% annually compared to current spending.

More debates to come

People's Party politician Werner Salzmann told srf public radioexternal link on Thursday that the government's decision followed the“path of least resistance and did not in any way take into account parliament's decision”.

Salzmann, who oversees the security policy commission in the Senate, said the decision would delay the army's modernisation plans, and that it's procurement plans for the next years would all have to be reevaluated. He said the government should make cuts elsewhere.

The government will present further details of the budget in February and March this year; parliament yet has the last word on approving it.

Horizon Europe savings

The government's cost-cutting plans also foresee the removal of an annual CHF600 million payment to the European Union's Horizon Europe research programme from 2024. After talks on a framework agreement with the EU stalled in 2021, Swiss participation in Horizon has been frozen. The government said money to mitigate the non-participation would be budgeted, and that research funding would not lose out.

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