Thursday , June 17 2021

SRF-Arena to Spatial Initiative: Sommaruga goes into baptism.

Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga and FDP national councilor Kurt Fluri (front) fought against the SP National Councilor Ursula Schneider Schüttel and Luzian Franzini (Young Green, behind) for the initiative. Photo: screenshot srf

Zersiedelungs- «Arena»: Neo-environment Minister Sommaruga makes young greens look old

In the voting space Arena for the Spatial Initiative, the new DETEC leader, Simonetta Sommaruga, was already evidence of a dossier and skillfully highlighted the weaknesses of the original. The advocates of the initiative, however, were inconvenient.

A Spatial Initiative on Young Green will be held on 10 February. It is true that the issue – as usual in popular initiatives – according to polls in the course of the battle for voting lost support. According to the latest study conducted by Tamedia on 10 and 11 January, 52% still support the initiative, with only 46% opposed.

That is why the voting arena had to come to the opponents of the initiative at the right time: it was high time to warn the indecisive voters about the damaging effects of the assumption from their perspective.

In the Arena this is made to the forefront of federal councilor Simonetta Sommaruga (SP). From December 20, he heads the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) and, on behalf of the Federal Council, represents "No" to the Growth Initiative. That is why the ballot was their baptism as the Minister of the Environment. And, of course, Sommaruga wants to start her new job with a vote.

Several numbers for urban expansion

So much in advance: With today's performance she had to come a step closer to this success. Five weeks in the new office apparently used Sommaruga to kneel in the Spatial Initiative for the dossier. She was well established, rational – and took advantage of the complete lack of representation of the other side.

Patriotic entry

At the end of the program it was noted that the initiators failed to dissipate the impression of an unimaginable proposal that Federal Councilor Sommaruga and her allies are trying to get to camp No.

But back to the beginning: The Arena began patriotic: accompanied by the sound of the national anthem, the audience showed aerial views of the idyllic landscape of Lindenberg in the valley of Lake Lucerne, and the Alps shone in the background. "This is a beautiful country, our Switzerland," said moderator Jonas Proyer, who finished his work this Friday without blemish and with the right amount of humor and tranquility. His inaugural question: "Does Switzerland also remain a beautiful country or more and more stretches and concretes?"

First was the order of the Federal Councilor Sommaruga, who started the evening in "individual questioning" by moderator Proyer before entering the circle of other Arena guests. Broadcasters have unveiled a photo of her that she showed on a tree during a walk in Worb BE in idyllic scenery. With the help of a meeting, they turned the idyllic nature into a puddle for settlements full of houses.

Sommaruga and the tree before / after comparison

But Sommourage was not drawn from the reservation. She calmly explained that she also took care of the preservation of the landscape. For too long, too little care was taken: "We made mistakes in the past." But the need for action was recognized. With the revised Territorial Planning Act (RPG) adopted in 2013, a "strict law" has been created that stops urban sprawl and even leads to rethinking construction sites, "even communities are sometimes injured." The initiative is therefore too late and unnecessary.

Proyer continued to interrupt Sommarge's annoyance. Perhaps you have to say yes to the initiative to send a signal for more stringent spatial planning he wanted to know. "The Federal Assembly is not a set of signs, Mr. Proyer," said Sommouraga. In addition, cantons and the community have shown their willingness to use RPGs and where they did not do so, the courts will reverse them.

The initiates did not want to know anything about the Federal Council's praise for the law in force. This is not enough. The suspended expansion of construction zones is a temporary effect of the new RPG. In the future, but will continue to build at the expense of green areas, warned Lusian Franzini, co-chair of the Green Greens and Initiative Committee: Switzerland is a small country, moreover, only 30% of the land is used for agriculture, commerce and housing. Maybe: "At some point we come to a limit: Or because everything is specific, or we are setting this limit of self-determination and developing more internally."

Sommaraga and her colleague, FDP national councilor Kurt Flury, questioned the effectiveness of the initiative to achieve this goal. At present, unused building sites would be in inappropriate locations, far from centers and underdeveloped.

The central theme of the evening was whether and how the exchange of construction zones would work if the growth initiative was adopted: "In theory, this sounds good, but practically does not work," the Federal Councilor said dryly. The exchange exchange option where you can bid for construction sites would mean that "only the power communities will come to the train." Also unsatisfactory for Sommaruga will be a central planning authority in Bern that would force a canton to abandon its construction sites to others who need them more urgently.

Luzian Franzini immediately counter-attacks. In Switzerland there are 400 square kilometers of unused land. These reserves are sufficient. In such a case, Parliament had to draw up a majority vote that respects the main concern of the initiative. The initiative only defines a general principle, the details must be regulated in the law: "This is the Swiss-Swiss tradition." This argument does not correspond to the national councilor Thomas Eger (CVP / VS), who sat in the audience: "You have no idea how to do it."

The debate about the initiative

Neither Lusian Franzini, nor his supporter, the National Councilor of the SP and the president of Pro-Natura Ursula Schneider Schuettel, have managed at this stage to dispel the doubts raised by the opponents' sustainable initiative. Schneider Schüttel did not make any benefit to his camp when he put in the room that after 30 or 40 years if the frozen building in the event of the adoption of the initiative could be used to change the constitution again. In fact, this undermined one of the main arguments of the initiators.

In about 40 minutes, initiator Lusian Franzini was taken out of the circle by Jonas Proyer, and just like him, Sommourage was "individually interrogated." The initiative will lead to higher rents, intervened Proyer Franzini. And the association of tenants has given up the slogan only because the strong, strongly represented, Greens, would prevent it for political reasons. Franzini skillfully pushed this trap from the turn of the masses: "In terms of tenants, one has to ask why the owner works hard against the initiative. They usually do not deal with the tenants' interests, but with their return.

«Owners look after returns»

Video: Stream

But shortly thereafter, Franzini stumbled on the worn out points in which he confidently responded to a public hearing at the SVP national councilor and entrepreneur Diana Guttar. She runs a family business in Thurgau with about 100 employees, including 10 apprentices. With regard to its own steel company, Gutjahr pointed out that companies sometimes have to grow in size for financial reasons or due to production conditions. In any case, they could not accumulate in the sign of condensation: "It's also a matter of will," Franzini wiped the opposition a little irritated.

It was these details that revealed the differences between young Green and political veteran Simonetta Sommaruga. While Franzini presented his arguments in a way that was not unsympathetic, but in some cases somewhat awkward, Sommourage never faced the field of environmental policy that was not yet known as a federal councilor.

This promises interesting constellations in future coordination struggles. While Social Democrat Sommaranga, as Minister of Justice, was often worried that SVP had been shipwrecked with initiatives and referenda on asylum and immigration policy, it would probably be more widespread than the left-wing environmental concerns. and the energy sector compete. The Zersiedelungsinitiative voting arena showed: Sommaruga must also bite their actually linked red-green tooth circles.

Spatial initiative is announced in 60 seconds

Video: Watson / Angelina Graff

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