The energy crisis that hits Europe and Switzerland, as well as the war in Ukraine, are the headlines in the Sunday press. There is also talk of infractions in the organic sector. Here is the main, unconfirmed information for Keystone-ATS:
Le Matin Dimanche: To deal with the energy crisis, the Zurich section of the PLR is launching a petition for the new hydropower projects selected by the Confederation to be implemented without delay, reveals Le Matin Dimanche. Bern has identified fifteen dam projects that could increase Switzerland’s hydroelectric production by more than 5%. Eventually, these facilities are expected to produce 2 terawatt hours (TWh) of additional power. “We ask that these fifteen projects be implemented immediately through the political channel,” PLR vice president Philippe Nantermod told the newspaper. According to him, implementation must be done through a federal law, which can be passed in ten months and which will pave the way for a possible referendum. “But we are not going to wait ten years and run the risk of going back to sailing or stopping the lifts”, launches the Valais national adviser.
NZZ am Sonntag: Switzerland must also participate in the voluntary reduction of its gas consumption by 15% between August 2022 and March 2023, a measure decided by the European Union (EU) this week, warns the German Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection in the NZZ I am Sonntag. If Germany experiences a critical gas situation, the Swiss regions supplied by it will also be affected, the ministry adds. These include the St. Gallen Rheintal and the canton of Graubünden, which buy their gas exclusively and directly from Germany. Swiss Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said on Thursday that she was in favor of Swiss participation in the European gas-savings plan. Her department told NZZ am Sonntag that it was coordinating with the Federal Economics Department to implement voluntary measures to match those of the EU.
SonntagsBlick: After several weeks of intense work to prevent gas shortages in Switzerland, the Federal Council still does not know how much gas reserves suppliers have managed to accumulate abroad, notes SonntagsBlick. “We do not have the desired data”, the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (DETEC) confirms to the newspaper. According to the spokesman for the Swiss Gas Industry Association (ASIG), Thomas Hegglin, gas suppliers have reached the target of accumulating fixed gas reserves between 75 and 100%. They are “on track to secure options for additional non-Russian gas deliveries by November,” he adds.
SonntagsZeitung: The Swiss rush to electric heaters for fear of being cold next winter, announces the SonntagsZeitung. Online retailer Digitec Galaxus has seen an explosion in sales of these devices, jumping 370% in June from June 2021 and 470% in July. But if all these heaters are used, there will be adverse consequences for the electricity supply, warns Michael Frank, director of the Association of Swiss Electric Companies, in the paper. If gas heaters are replaced with electric emergency heaters, “electricity consumption will increase massively when the situation is already tense,” he explains.
SonntagsZeitung: Tesla boss Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet network could compensate for Swiss network failures in the event of a power outage, writes SonntagsZeitung. Mobile phone networks in Switzerland are poorly equipped to handle these events, as antennas quickly fail in the event of a power failure. Starlink, which has been available in Switzerland for more than six months, does, however, require open areas at height to be accessible. The network is also expensive, adds the paper. The number of the company’s customers in Switzerland is not known. Worldwide, there are 400,000.
SonntagsZeitung: Invoking sanctions against Russia, Postfinance bans the Ukrainian company in Switzerland from all transfers in Ukraine, which is considered a war zone, reveals SonntagsZeitung. The business relationship between the La Poste subsidiary and the association can only be maintained “in so far as it is used exclusively for administrative business in Switzerland”. The association was invited to sign an additional agreement stipulating that “no payments may be made from or to countries against which the Federal Council has enacted coercive measures”. “This prevents us from helping our compatriots”, declares in the newspaper the president of the association Andreï Lushnycky, who denounces “a scandal […] unworthy of an institution that belongs to the State”.
SonntagsBlick: Nearly two in three Swiss (64%) believe that federal councilors do not collaborate well with one another, reveals a survey by Sotomo, relayed by SonntagsBlick. There is an obvious rivalry within the federal executive, the director of the Sotomo research institute, Michael Hermann, comments in the newspaper. “We try to harm each other with targeted indiscretions”, says the political scientist, noting that this atmosphere is perceived by the population. Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter receives the highest rating from respondents. Economy Minister Guy Parmelin comes in second, just ahead of Defense Minister Viola Amherd. Next are Finance Ministers Ueli Maurer, Interior Minister Alain Berset and Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga. The president of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis comes in the rear.
NZZ am Sonntag: Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigator Peter Marti, initially hired to investigate leaks in the Crypto case, is also investigating potential breaches of secrecy of functions at the Federal Department of the Interior committed during the Covid-19 pandemic, NZZ reports am Sonntag. According to two sources, the director of the Ringier press group, Marc Walder, would be personally concerned. Ringier confirms in the paper that he was “facing an investigation against a third person as part of investigations carried out by Federal Attorney Extraordinary Peter Marti”. The group points out, however, that “neither Ringier SA, nor its subsidiaries, nor its bodies, nor its employees are accused in this proceeding”.
Le Matin Dimanche/SonntagsZeitung: Every year Swiss authorities discover more than 2,600 rule violations in the organic sector, reveal Le Matin Dimanche and the SonntagsZeitung. That equates to an average of just over two breaches out of ten checks, the newspapers calculated. Violations and irregularities were found among food suppliers, farmers, importers and retailers. Most cases are related to minor infractions, such as an incorrectly filled form. Urs Brändli, president of Bio Suisse, plays down the seriousness of the numbers, arguing “millions of organic products” sold and “extremely strict” regulations. “Our guidelines alone run to more than 350 pages. In comparison, serious cases are relatively few”, he assures in the newspapers. In 2018, the Confederation and the cantons set a national target of one infringement for every ten checks.
SonntagsBlick: The reggae band, whose July 18 concert in Bern was canceled over allegations of cultural appropriation, believes SonntagsBlick is important to discuss this issue. But the discussion sometimes veered in the wrong direction. “A lot of people don’t know what cultural appropriation is,” says singer Dominik Plumettaz. This has led to anything but decent comments, offending people who take the matter seriously, he adds. “It’s not possible”. The show was stopped because spectators were uncomfortable with the fact that a group of white musicians wearing dreadlocks were playing reggae music.