With anti-austerity protests across Europe resulting in civil unrest on the streets of Athens and Madrid, Switzerland — the European country famed for its neutrality — is taking unusual precautions. It launched the military exercise “Stabilo Due” in September to respond to the current instability in Europe and to test the speed at which its army can be dispatched.
The country is not a member of the union or among the 17 countries that share the euro. Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag reported recently that the exercise centered around a risk map created in 2010, where army staff detailed the threat of internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.
The Swiss defense ministry told CNBC that it doesn’t rule out having to deploy troops in the coming years. “It’s not excluded that the consequences of the financial crisis in Switzerland can lead to protests and violence,” a spokesperson told CNBC.com. “The army must be ready when the police in such cases requests for subsidiary help.” Some 2,000 troops were part of the drill exercise in eight different towns across the country. Infantry soldiers were used as well as the air force and special forces personnel in an assignment that took years to organize.