The Federal Council seeks to address consistency problems in relation to private security services

Press release, 12.02.2020

The Federal Council seeks to achieve greater harmonisation between the Federal Act on Private Security Services Provided Abroad (PSSA), Goods Control Act (GCA) and War Material Act (WMA). It has issued instructions to this effect to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) and Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) at its meeting on 12 February 2020. The relevant proposals are based on a report produced by an interdepartmental working group.

In addition to achieving greater consistency in the interpretation of the law, the Federal Council is looking to revise the Ordinance on Private Security Services Provided Abroad. The FDFA and the FDJP have been tasked with submitting relevant amendments to the Federal Council this year, including more precise definitions of the terms 'logistical support', 'advising and training members of armed or security forces' and 'operating and maintaining weapons systems'.

It has also been proposed that the Ordinance should include an EAER consultation mechanism along the lines of the War Material Ordinance and Goods Control Ordinance. The Ordinance as amended should also provide that where the authorities have differing views or the arrangements concerned have far-reaching political implications, the matter should be put before the Federal Council for a decision.

Reviewing the effectiveness of the amendments after three years

The FDFA and the FDJP will review the effectiveness of these amendments after three years, in consultation with the EAER and the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), and report their findings to the Federal Council. Suggestions for improvement should also be submitted to the Federal Council where necessary.

As well as measures to achieve greater consistency between the various pieces of legislation, in line with the proposals of the interdepartmental working group (IDWG), the Federal Council has also proposed a review of possible amendments to the PSSA.

The Federal Council believes combining short and medium-term measures is the best way to achieve rapid improvements in key areas for the Swiss export industry and security policy.

IDWG has outlined the need for action and proposed a number of solutions

The PSSA/WMA/GCA interdepartmental working group was set up by the FDFA and EAER on 21 February 2019 and is composed of representatives from the FDFA, EAER, FDJP and DDPS. It was tasked with assessing similarities and differences between the authorisation and prohibition criteria laid down in the legislation, determining what action was needed, and proposing specific solutions in relation to the PSSA.

The IDWG completed its work at the end of 2019 and presented its report to the heads of the FDFA and EAER. The report was submitted to the Federal Council for consideration at its meeting on 29 January 2020.

Review of inconsistencies between the PSSA and export control legislation: report of the Federal Council in response to Schilliger postulate 19.4297 dated 27.09.2019 (de)(pdf, 80kb)
Report of the PSSA/WMA/GCA interdepartmental working group (de)(pdf, 479kb)

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