Germany rules out bilateral gas solidarity agreement with Switzerland

Plans for a gas solidarity agreement was first mooted during a bilateral discussions on the sidelines of WEF in May. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Germany has said that a proposed gas solidarity deal with Switzerland, to come into effect in case of shortages, should also include Italy.

This content was published on January 17, 2023

The proposal was made during a meeting between German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck and the Swiss economics and environment ministers, Guy Parmelin and Albert Rösti, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday.

A bilateral gas solidarity agreement between Germany and Switzerland was first mooted during a meeting at WEF last May. The aim of the agreement was to prepare for any emergency situations, for examples critical infrastructure like hospitals suffering a severe gas shortage.

Rather, given that gas also makes its way to Germany and Switzerland via Italy, Habeck suggested bringing the southern European country into the deal, making it a matter of solidarity between the north and south of Europe.

On Monday in Davos, however, Habeck reiterated that “Germany will always show solidarity”, but that this had its limits. As Swiss public television SRF put itExternal link, Germany is not prepared to simply turn off the gas for its own industries in order to help out Swiss households and hospitals.

The Swiss government wroteExternal link that the outstanding issues in the gas sector can be “clarified at a technical level” and that as such “there is no need for a bilateral solidarity agreement between Germany and Switzerland”. Rösti told media in Davos that Switzerland “understood the German request”.

Rösti also said that Germany’s wish to widen the deal to include Italy has no connection with Switzerland’s stalled negotiations with the EU.

The ministers from both Switzerland and Germany said that the gas supply situation was more stable than last year, and that the pressure to take emergency measures was somewhat less high.

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