Alpine treaty rejected by parliament

Swiss parliamentarians have decided against ratifying framework protocols of the Alpine Convention.

This content was published on September 29, 2010 - 14:34 and agencies

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 102 to 76 against the protocols, effectively burying the initiative.

The convention is an international treaty that aims to protect the Alps. Switzerland signed it in 1991, along with Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein and the European Union. Slovenia and Monaco joined later.

Italy is the only other country which has not ratified any of the protocols.

The protocols outline the concrete steps signatory states are obliged to take for the protection and sustainable development of the Alps in areas including farming, land use planning, tourism, soil conservation and nature conservation.

Rightwing politicians have argued the convention would infringe on national sovereignty and economic development in alpine regions. It would apply to 60 per cent of Swiss territory and two million residents, and just ten per cent in France and Italy, they say.

Supporting the treaty, the centre-right Christian Democrat Party said Switzerland could not deal with challenges facing alpine regions on its own. It has not had an impact on the economy in Austria, where 65 per cent of the country is covered by the convention, the party said.

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