In an interview with Blick, Minister Sommaruga said: “Why do we have a problem today? Because Russia has turned off the gas tap, and Switzerland is completely dependent on foreign countries for this kind of energy.”
“The situation is serious. The Federal Council is aware of this – and not only since the war in Ukraine,” she added.
Switzerland has not yet set energy-saving targets, unlike the European Union, which plans to cut gas consumption by 15 percent to overcome a drop in Russian shipments due to tensions caused by the war in Ukraine.
Sommaruga said it would “certainly be useful” for Switzerland to set such goals, noting a campaign to be launched in the coming weeks to urge residents to reduce energy consumption.
Nearly 80 percent of Switzerland’s energy supply depends on imports of fuels, fossil fuels as well as nuclear fuels, according to the Federal Energy Office. Even the supply of electricity cannot do without imports, especially during the winter season.
Switzerland, which does not have a large storage capacity, depends on neighboring countries for gas supplies in the coming winter. Negotiations are currently underway to reach so-called “solidarity” agreements with Germany and Italy, which have tightened their gas export laws.
“Negotiations are underway. But such an agreement will not be reached unless we are already in a state of need. The most important thing for the Federal Council is to avoid such a situation as much as possible. That is why additional gas must be supplied,” Sommaruga explained.
And since the gas pipeline connecting Germany to Italy runs through Switzerland, the latter has threatened to divert part of the gas earmarked for Italy, which is allowed by a clause in the agreement in the event of a crisis, the newspaper “Zontagezeitung” reported on Sunday.
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