As the growing economic crisis continues to wreak havoc throughout the European Union, the armed forces of tiny Switzerland are preparing to deal with a potential EU disaster that could see refugees flood across the borders amid widespread unrest and chaos. Top Swiss officials have warned that if escalating turmoil were to spill across the border, Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, will be ready to tackle it.
Among the now widely cited preparations was a two-week military training exercise conducted in mid-September dubbed “Stabilo Due.” The drill, which saw thousands of Swiss troops, including air force and special operations forces, deployed throughout the Alpine nation, was aimed at ensuring military readiness to deal with growing EU instability and surging violence in several European countries.
Various Swiss media outlets reported that the exercise dealt with the potential threat of warring factions and internal unrest within Switzerland sparked by the ongoing financial crisis in the EU, which could easily spread. Also part of the plan were preparations to handle a mass influx of refugees from crisis-plagued nations like Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, and even France.
“The exercise concept of STABILO DUE is based on a scenario that supposes the instability of a geographic area in Europe specifically defined for the occasion,” the Swiss federal government explained on its website. “Switzerland also knows disorder, attacks and acts of violence. This extraordinary situation scenario aims to check the support provided to the cantons in subsidiary undertakings as well as the conduct and engagement of the operational reserve of the army.”
Separately, defense officials were reportedly drawing up plans to ready as many as four battalions of military police at strategic points throughout Switzerland including airports, key facilities, and Geneva-based international organizations, according to news reports. Those efforts could include more than 1,500 troops if the proposal, set to be submitted before the end of the year, is approved.
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Photo of Swiss soldiers: AP Images