ZA tradition of the World Economic Forum in Davos includes meetings between the economics ministers from Germany and the Switzerland on the first evening of the World Economic Forum (WEF). This year both sides tried to be pragmatic; but there is still a long way to go before agreements are reached.
On the one hand, this applies to the question of whether the Confederates should supply Swiss-made ammunition for NATO weapons used in the Ukraine be used. “We exchanged our views,” said Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin soberly.
His German colleague was clearer Robert Habeck in view of the refusal of the Swiss. Although he comes from a party that tends towards pacifism, in the end one cannot fail to recognize that in a war there are aggressors and innocent victims, between whom a distinction must be made. “It would be fair and helpful if Switzerland would provide ammunition,” said Habeck.
The ministers dealt in detail with the energy supply in Europe. Months ago talks for a bilateral gas agreement between Germany and Switzerland in the event of an emergency, which Habeck increasingly considered unlikely, were announced. In Davos, Habeck brought up the idea of an agreement in which Italy could also participate alongside Germany and Switzerland.
An agreement is “not necessary”
It is important to Switzerland that, in the event of a European emergency, its gas consumers are not treated worse than gas consumers in other countries. From a German point of view, this could have adverse effects if, in an emergency, preferred customers such as private households had to be served first and then the industry got too little gas, if Germany had to make a lot of gas available for preferred Swiss consumers as part of a bilateral agreement – while, for example the industry in Italy would continue to get gas. Germany could avoid this kind of “risk concentration” if Italy participated in a three-country agreement.
Apparently, Switzerland would like to see the issue a little lower institutionally. The open questions could also be clarified on a technical level; Therefore, a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and Germany is not necessary anyway, it said in Davos. Instead, the cooperation between the Federal Network Agency and the Swiss crisis organization should be continued in a pragmatic way.
Representatives of Switzerland emphasized that the Confederation, with its hydroelectric power plants, is already making an important contribution to energy security in Europe, because it can increase its capacities at short notice in the event of impending bottlenecks in other countries. That happened, for example, in the first days of December, said Energy Minister Albert Rösti. Habeck praised the increasing cooperation between Europeans on energy issues. “The energy crisis is not over, but has become manageable,” said the minister. “We are able to solve our problems. That is also a credit to European solidarity.” Even in the event of a shortage, there will be no distribution struggle in Europe.