SVP-Salzmann to the soldiers shoveling snow on the Lauberhorn
“Civicians should do that!”
The fact that soldiers are preparing for the World Cup race in Wengen draws critics into action. Werner Salzmann, President of the Security Policy Commission in the Council of States, is not only enthusiastic about it.
Members of the Swiss military and civil defense shovel snow on the Lauberhorn.
Sermin Fakipolitical chief
The deployment of soldiers and civil protection officers on the Lauberhorn has met with criticism. A video distributed by the OC of the World Cup race in Wengen BE shows people in camouflage shoveling snow down the slope at 4am on Tuesday morning. It was “cynical” in view of the Ukraine war, the comments say, for example. “In other countries they are fighting for survival and in Switzerland the army is fighting to ensure that a descent ‘happens’,” someone writes.
Werner Salzmann (60), President of the Security Policy Committee of the Council of States, also says that army operations can always be questioned. It is clear that without the use of the army there would be neither the World Cup races nor the federal wrestling and gymnastics festivals, which are important for the tourist location.
“Then we wouldn’t have to use up any service days”
But the SVP man also says: «I would prefer it if the civil servants would do that. Then we wouldn’t have to use up any service days from soldiers.” Unfortunately that wouldn’t work. Civilian service workers cannot be called up by the federal government because – unlike the army and civil defense – they are not organized in a formation. “This requires a new compulsory service model,” says Salzmann.
And that could be coming soon. Defense Minister Viola Amherd (60) is currently working on a major reform of the conscription model. Two versions are available:
- The “security service obligation” variant provides for the merging of civil service and civil defense into a new organization. This is to ensure that civil defense can recruit enough personnel. Since the army has priority when it comes to recruitment, this variant would also provide the army with sufficient personnel.
- The second variant is “needs-based compulsory service”, in which the compulsory service would be extended to women. According to the Federal Council, however, only as many people would be recruited as the army and civil defense needed.
People have the last word
At the beginning of 2024, Amherd wants to refer the reform to parliament. But because the constitution needs to be changed, the people have the last word. It could be in 2025 or 2026.
Salzmann wants to work to ensure that the security service variant prevails and that civilian service is included. So that in a few years there will be no more soldiers shoveling snow in Wengen.
Revolution in the militia system? The “Service Citizens” association wants compulsory service for everyone(01:04)