MP up in arms over Swiss military’s choice of wine

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
MP up in arms over Swiss military’s choice of wine
Salute: Swiss army is accused of committing a faux-pas. Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

Switzerland’s military is facing financial woes— its coffers are short of 1 billion francs to fund new arms purchases. But according to one MP, the army has a more pressing problem right now.


On March 30th, a disturbing scene happened at the military base in Thun, in canton Bern.

At a ceremony to which soldiers’ families were invited, Italian wine was served to the guests.

This faux-pas may have remained under wraps and kept as a military secret if it weren't for the vigilance of one member of the parliament.

But this incident was not lost on MP Yvan Pahud, who, as a member of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, is principally highly critical of any kind of international influence in Switzerland’s internal affairs — be it the country’s ties with the European Union or, in this particular case, foreign wine.

Therefore, as the National Council’s deputies debated various matters of national importance during a special session on April 15th, Pahud brought up the issue of foreign alcoholic beverages served by the army.


He argued that parents and guests who attended the event “were outraged that our Swiss army was promoting foreign wine, when  our country has its own winegrowers.”

The MPs remained neutral on this issue, and the Defence Department has yet to address this hot-button topic.

It is not known if at least some concessions to ‘Swissness’ were made at the event — that is, whether the bottles of Italian wine were uncorked with Swiss army knives.


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