Today, EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, concludes a two-day official visit to Switzerland where he held meetings with high-level officials from Armasuisse - Federal Office for Defence Procurement and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport and Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. EDA’s cooperation with Switzerland is built on an Administrative Arrangement which recently marked 10 years since its signature. During his visit to Bern, Mr Šedivý discussed avenues of future cooperation and opportunities for expanding current Swiss participation in EDA activities.
Discussions with National Armaments Director, Martin Sonderegger, mainly focused on Swiss participation in 7 of EDA’s Capability & Technology Groups (CapTechs) and the growing cooperation in the cyber domain. Mr Šedivý briefed on the establishment of the Hub for European Defence Innovation (HEDI) and on progress across the EU defence initiatives. Mr Šedivý met Brigadier Werner Epper, Deputy Commander Air Force, to discuss progress on Swiss participation in EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme and EDA’s workstreams on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
During a speech to representatives of Swiss industry, Mr Šedivý presented EDA, its mission and introduced the Agency’s sustainable defence activities and opportunities for engagement by industry. The official visit also provided the opportunity to see several aspects of Swiss defence excellence, upon which Swiss contribution to EDA activities are draw from. Mr Šedivý concluded his visit at the Swiss Cyber Defence Campus and the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre of Armasuisse.
“Switzerland’s participation in EDA through our administrative arrangement is exactly what defence cooperation is about. Over the past 10 years, Switzerland has been able to participate in a range of projects and programmes at EDA not just for the benefit its own defence, but by making a valued contribution to selected EDA activities and projects. In the past decade, the range of joint projects and programmes Switzerland has engaged in has only grown and during my visit to Bern I have encouraged our Swiss colleagues to continue this path and to further grow our partnership, in line with the recent report approved by the Federal Council on the implications of the war in Ukraine”, said EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý.
“Switzerland has continuously expanded its cooperation with EDA in the recent years. We appreciate the productivity of the common activities with good quality output and the good working ambiance. Close cooperation with the EDA is the right way forward for Switzerland.”, said Martin Sonderegger, National Armaments Director Switzerland.
10 years of cooperation
Ten years ago, on 16 March 2012, the ‘Framework for cooperation between the European Defence Agency and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport of the Swiss Confederation’ was signed. The so-called Administrative Arrangement (AA, the second of only four AA so far signed by the Agency with non-EU countries, sets the frame for enabling the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) to participate in specific EDA projects and programmes related to research and technology as well as armaments cooperation, in a spirit of mutual benefits and reciprocity. Since then, cooperation between participating EDA Member States and the DDPS has continuously deepened. Initially mainly focused on R&T, Switzerland’s engagement at EDA has progressively expanded also into capability development and training.