Switzerland’s armed forces are facing drastic cutbacks after the government decided they are too big and too expensive. Around 2,500 jobs are expected to go by 2010 in a plan, which will also see the closure of four of the country’s nine air bases. Defence Minister Samuel Schmid said there was plenty of scope for cost cutting in the military. “We have an infrastructure with a capacity for 800,000 soldiers but we don’t have more than 200,000. We have to reduce to economise.”
The government’s plan now goes to the nation’s regional authorities for consideration. But politicians in those areas that will be hardest hit have vowed to fight the move. A final decision is not expected until 2006.