Swiss fighter jet document reveals secret French tax offer

France’s latest bid to persuade Switzerland to buy its Rafale fighter jet appears to have failed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

France has offered Switzerland a financial sweetener, worth an estimated 3.5 billion francs, to buy its Rafale fighter jets rather than American F-35A planes, according to a secret document seen by the Swiss public broadcaster FRS.

This content was published on July 8, 2022 – 14:52

The document highlights substantive negotiations as Switzerland seeks to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets. It also adds fuel to an ongoing argument over whether taxpayers got the best deal for their money.

The 6 billion Swiss franc ($6.2 billion) F-35A deal was approved by parliament in 2019External link and was approved by Swiss voters the following year. But the saga didn’t end there. Another grassroots initiative, targeting the specific choice of planes, appears to have garnered enough signatures to force a new referendumExternal link.

But the government has controversially said it plans to finally sign the F-35A supply contract this year without waiting for the outcome of that particular vote.External link.

SRF has now discovered a secret documentExternal link it shows that barter was still in full swing last summer, with France determined to persuade Switzerland to change its mind and buy its Rafale jets.

The document was signed by French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on June 28, 2021. Several unnamed sources told SRF that Swiss government ministers not only saw the letter, but actively sought France’s counter-offer.

In the letter, Le Maire proposed to recalibrate a Franco-Swiss agreement on the taxation of cross-border workers in favor of Switzerland – to the tune of around 3.5 billion francs. He also assured that France would support Switzerland as the Alpine state is going through a difficult period in its relations with the European Union. But that failed to change Switzerland’s mind.

SRF reports that the negotiations with France have also generated some animosity between the Swiss Ministry of Defense and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance – all of whom declined to comment, as well as the French Embassy in Bern and a doorstep. -word of the cabinet.

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