Sommaruga reacts to German intervention – in silence – Switzerland: Standard

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Simonetta Sommaruga acted, in silence. On November 1, the Minister of Energy responded to those words from Berlin that had provoked strong reactions in Switzerland.

What happened? A month earlier, the Federal Environment Ministry of Svenja Schulze (SPD) had turned to the SP Federal Councilor – packed in publicity in a press release. The letter was written by Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutter (SPD), who is a parliamentary undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment.

"We are not command recipients."SVP National Council Christian Imark

According to the message from Berlin, Switzerland should switch off Beznau "as quickly as possible" and take the remaining "timely" off the network. Bourgeois politicians in Bern reacted sharply. "We are not a commander," said SVP National Council Christian Imark.

No conviction

Does Sommaruga think the same? Your energy department, the Uvek, has sent this editorial board – according to its own statements – essential passages from the letter. There is no condemnation of the German intervention. Rather, Sommaruga soberly describes the energy policy reality: in 2017, the voters decided to ban new nuclear power plants and thus the phasing out of nuclear energy. The existing kilns – and this is crucial – may still be in service "for as long as they are safe," Sommaruga clarifies in his letter. Whether the conditions are met, control the nuclear regulatory authority of the federal government.

On the other hand, the voting population in 2016 rejected a limitation of the terms. This is also pointed out by Sommaruga. This also means that under these conditions the power company Axpo Beznau can continue to operate for at least ten years, as intended.


Simonetta Sommaruga during the summer session in the National Council. (June 4, 2019) picture. Keystone / Alessandro della Valle)

Beznau is 50 years old today. Terms of 60 yearsas the Axpo strives for, are therefore at least as an option politically wanted – and accordingly also in the recent nuclear power plants in discussion: GOsgen and Leibstadt, which produce electricity since 1979 respectively 1984. SPD politician Schwarzeluhr-Sutter sees such a long-term "fatal aberration".

Important left uncommented

And Sommaruga? In the letter, she does not comment directly on it. The power supply is a matter for the energy industry, writes the Federal Councilor and refers to Muhleberg, which is on 20 December forever off the grid. According to Sommaruga, the federal government had no direct influence on the economically justified shutdown decision of the Berne power company BKW.

Unkommentiert leaves the SP-Magistratin finally another piquant detail from the German letter: Accordingly, it estimated Schwarzeluhr-Sutter as "mandatory" to include in decisions on longer nuclear runtimes, the population of neighboring states.

What Berlin thinks of Sommaruga's replica is unclear. The Federal Environment Ministry does not comment on request. On the Swiss side, however, there are clear words. "Ms Sommaruga should have made it clear that Switzerland does not like foreign countries being involved in our affairs," says Thomas Matter. He wonders: does the Federal Council intend "similar interventions" in the German energy supply, which to a large extent is based on coal-fired power plants?


A last walk through the Muhleberg nuclear power plant.

A visit to the first Swiss nuclear power plant to be mined.


For reasons of climate policy, Social Democrat Sommaruga would have every reason to do so. Maybe she has the German energy policy but already qualified. At the end of April, she met Federal Environment Minister Schulze in the German city of Munster. It is not known that Sommaruga used the occasion to persuade the German government to make a quick exit from coal.

However, according to Sommarugas, it is always possible to intervene, but not in the way Berlin did in October. Soon, the Federal Council must take an official position. On the table is an interpellation matters, which demands an answer to this question.

Created: 10.12.2019, 18:43 clock



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