Chief of Armament signs application for membership with regard to accession to the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI)

Bern, 09.07.2024 - The Federal Council wants to join the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) and thus increase opportunities for international cooperation in ground-based air defence. Following the decision of the Federal Council, Chief of Armament Urs Loher now signed an application for membership addressed to the Chairperson of the ESSI on 8 July 2024. All member states of ESSI can now express themselves on the application, after which Switzerland can sign the statement of accession.

The accession process provides that all states which have signed the Letter of Intent can lodge a request for membership at any time. Switzerland signed the Letter of Intent as well as an additional statement on reservations under neutrality law on 7 July 2023. On 10 April 2024, the Federal Council resolved accession to the ESSI and authorised the DDPS to sign the statement of accession. After the Foreign Policy and the Security Policy Committees of Parliament also agreed to the matter, the DDPS has now initiated the accession process with the signing of the application for membership by Chief of Armament Urs Loher.

Further action in the accession process

The Chairperson of the ESSI will submit the application for membership as well as Switzerland’s draft version of the statement of accession to all member states for consultation. The member states then have two months’ time to express their consent or their justified reservation. If no reservations are expressed, Switzerland can then sign the statement of accession and ESSI Cooperative Procurement Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on which the ESSI is based.

European Sky Shield Initiative

With its participation in the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), Switzerland is increasing international opportunities for cooperation: ESSI enables better coordination of procurement projects, training and logistical aspects in the area of ground-based air defence. Even after signing the statement of accession, Switzerland will decide freely where and to what extent it will participate in the ESSI and which ground-based air defence systems it will procure. Accession to the ESSI does not constitute a preliminary decision in favour of a specific system. Signing the statement of accession does not lead to any obligations.

Address for enquiries

Samanta Leiser
Communication armasuisse
+41 58 465 33 79




General Secretariat DDPS