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Previous FSS Security Talks

14. SSF Security Talk | Security of Supply, 4 September 2023

 

Switzerland's prosperity and security of supply are very closely linked to global supply chains. Wars, conflicts, disasters, accidents and other "events" can suddenly affect or even completely disrupt supply chains. The consequences are supply bottlenecks, shortages of goods and rising prices. The consequences of dependence on certain countries and production plants are particularly evident in the area of pharmaceuticals, where for years medicines have been in short supply or no longer available at all, as most active ingredients and basic medical substances are now only produced in China or India. For this reason, countries such as the USA or France have begun to relocate the production of basic medical substances back to their own countries.

Under the buzzwords "de-coupling" or "de-risking", other industries are also trying to reduce their dependence, especially on China. Simon Evenett, Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen, showed in his opening speech, however, that this "de-coupling" often only takes place on paper, but not in reality. At the same time, he pleaded for viewing security of supply not as a problem of globalisation, but as a problem of supply. History shows that opening up to the outside world and greater diversification have been much more effective than protectionism.

Hans Häfliger, the new Federal Commissioner for National Economic Supply, also emphasised the importance of provision in his first public appearance. At the same time, he made it clear that the economy is primarily responsible for national supply and that the FONES only intervenes in a subsidiary capacity. However, there is an important and well-rehearsed cooperation between the private sector and some authorities and sector specialists in Switzerland. One example of this is the minimum reserve system, which apparently attracts a lot of interest abroad.

In the following, highly exciting panel discussion, Dr Hans Häfliger was joined by other proven experts: Martine Ruggli, President, Swiss Pharmacists' Association pharmaSuisse, Dr Alexander Muhm, new Head of Freight Transport and Member of the Executive Board, SBB AG, and Rainer Deutschmann, Head of Security & Transport at Migros-Genossenschaftsbund. Three central topics were discussed: "Global supply chains and security of supply", "Focus on the supply of medicines" and "Crisis management and measures to increase security of supply". The insightful findings of the panel, which was followed by around 90 interested participants, can be found in the summary report.

 

Photo gallery:

(Photographer: Monika Flückiger)

14. SSF Security Talk | Security of Supply, 4 September 2023

 

Switzerland's prosperity and security of supply are very closely linked to global supply chains. Wars, conflicts, disasters, accidents and other "events" can suddenly affect or even completely disrupt supply chains. The consequences are supply bottlenecks, shortages of goods and rising prices. The consequences of dependence on certain countries and production plants are particularly evident in the area of pharmaceuticals, where for years medicines have been in short supply or no longer available at all, as most active ingredients and basic medical substances are now only produced in China or India. For this reason, countries such as the USA or France have begun to relocate the production of basic medical substances back to their own countries.

Under the buzzwords "de-coupling" or "de-risking", other industries are also trying to reduce their dependence, especially on China. Simon Evenett, Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen, showed in his opening speech, however, that this "de-coupling" often only takes place on paper, but not in reality. At the same time, he pleaded for viewing security of supply not as a problem of globalisation, but as a problem of supply. History shows that opening up to the outside world and greater diversification have been much more effective than protectionism.

Hans Häfliger, the new Federal Commissioner for National Economic Supply, also emphasised the importance of provision in his first public appearance. At the same time, he made it clear that the economy is primarily responsible for national supply and that the FONES only intervenes in a subsidiary capacity. However, there is an important and well-rehearsed cooperation between the private sector and some authorities and sector specialists in Switzerland. One example of this is the minimum reserve system, which apparently attracts a lot of interest abroad.

In the following, highly exciting panel discussion, Dr Hans Häfliger was joined by other proven experts: Martine Ruggli, President, Swiss Pharmacists' Association pharmaSuisse, Dr Alexander Muhm, new Head of Freight Transport and Member of the Executive Board, SBB AG, and Rainer Deutschmann, Head of Security & Transport at Migros-Genossenschaftsbund. Three central topics were discussed: "Global supply chains and security of supply", "Focus on the supply of medicines" and "Crisis management and measures to increase security of supply". The insightful findings of the panel, which was followed by around 90 interested participants, can be found in the summary report.

 

Photo gallery:

(Photographer: Monika Flückiger)

13. SSF Security Talk | Re-export of armaments, 20. April 2023

 

How can Switzerland extricate itself from this self-inflicted dilemma between the right of neutrality and the internationally demanded solidarity with Ukraine? And how can a realistic and long-term understanding of neutrality be found that can be ap-plied not only to the war in Ukraine, but also to other armed threats?

These important questions were the focus of the 13th SSF Security Talk on the topic of "Switzerland in the conflict between international and neutrality law and the re-export of armaments". The event was opened by former National Councillor and SSF board member Roland Borer. He welcomed the almost 100 interested participants, including many young participants/students, and emphasised the great importance of the current topic.

The 13th SSF Security Talk kicked off with two informative input presentations. First, Simon Plüss (Minister, Deputy Head of Bilateral Economic Relations, Head of Arms Control and Arms Control Policy, SECO) gave an insight into the foundations and developments of the Confederation's arms control policy. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Christoph Frei (political scientist and professor of international relations, University of St. Gallen) opened the temporal and geographical horizon with an input on Swiss neutrality in a historical and geopolitical context.

During the subsequent panel discussion with the speakers Roland Borer and Prof. Dr. Christoph Frei as well as National Councillor Mauro Tuena (President SiK-N) and Dr. Stefan Brupbacher (Director, Swissmem), corresponding perspectives for action for Switzerland were discussed and the central challenges for the Swiss arms industry and neutrality were debated. It became apparent that the current understanding of neutrality is an obstacle for the Swiss defence industry and meets with a lack of understanding abroad. Despite agreement on the need for action, it is difficult to find political majorities for an adjustment of Swiss arms control policy.

 

Find the detailed summary report here.

 

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