MIL-OSI Translation: Reducing admissions to civil service: opening of the consultation procedure

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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Switzerland – Department of Foreign Affairs in French

Federal Council

Bern, 01.03.2024 – The Federal Council intends to reduce the number of admissions to civil service by means of six measures. The aim is to implement the provision enshrined in the Constitution according to which there is no free choice between military service and alternative civilian service (civil service). On March 1, 2024, the Federal Council opened the consultation concerning the modification of the federal law on civil service in this direction. The latter runs until June 11, 2024.

Admissions to the civil service have been at a high level in absolute figures since 2009 (6,635 new admissions in 2022). The Federal Council considers that this high number of admissions, and in particular the number of military personnel who have completed their recruit school, specialists and army executives among the applicants, is problematic. The amendment to the law aims to remedy this situation, as admissions are mainly motivated by reasons other than conflict of conscience. In particular, it provides for the tightening of the requirements to be met for people who have completed a significant part of their military service.

This involves substantially reducing the number of applications for admission to civil service through six targeted measures. These measures were already included in a draft amendment to the federal law on civil service, which was rejected by a narrow majority by the National Council during the final vote in the 2020 summer session. The National Council and the Council of States adopted, on September 29, 2022 and March 6, 2023, respectively, motion 22.3055 from the SVP group “Increase the strength of the army by taking measures for civil service”. In doing so, the Federal Chambers followed the Federal Council’s proposal to adopt the motion.

Strengthen the solution of proof by act in the event of a conflict of conscience

The solution of proof by act without assessment of the conflict of conscience, in force since 2009, is not called into question, but the requirements are reinforced for people who have already completed a significant part of their military service. The revision introduces the principle that, once recruit school has been completed, all applicants must complete a minimum of 150 days of civilian service, and the proportionality of the total duration of military service and civilian service must be maintained.

The project provides for not allowing admission to civil service to persons required to perform military service who have already completed all their days of instructional service. The aim is to prevent them from being able to easily escape compulsory shooting, to which they are subject until the end of the year preceding their release from military obligations. Furthermore, a measure aimed at aligning the obligations imposed on civilians with those of the military is proposed, with the obligation to complete a period of service each year from the calendar year following admission.

Expected decline in the number of admissions to civil service

With the planned measures, the number of admissions to civilian service, particularly of soldiers who have completed their recruit school, should decrease. Since civil service is only one of the factors influencing army numbers, we cannot expect departures from the army to decrease in the same proportion as admissions to civil service. Following the implementation of the measures, it is assumed that this number will fall to 4000 people per year. As a result, there will be fewer people and fewer service days available for community service assignments in the long term. This is, however, acceptable in view of the need to implement the constitutional provision according to which there is no free choice between military service and alternative civilian service.

Overview of the six measures1. Minimum of 150 days of service

2. Application of the factor 1.5 also to non-commissioned officers and officers

3. Prohibition of assignments requiring studies of human, dental or veterinary medicine

4. No admission of military personnel with no more days of service remaining

5. Obligation to complete one assignment period per year upon admission

6. Obligation for applicants who submitted their application during recruit school to complete their long assignment at the latest during the calendar year following the entry into force of the admission decision

Address for sending questions

Communication 41 58 462 20 07


Federal Council

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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