It was a marathon debate on two pesticide initiatives, which are expected to come in next spring's vote. In fact, there was a rare deal: all sides want to protect valuable water. And all of them, including the leftist parties, think these two initiatives are too radical or at least not optimally formulated. In fact, the best conditions for counter-argument. The fact that this has slowed has to do with the notion of farmers themselves and representatives of business entities in parliament: in the last 10 years virtually all issues of environmental protection at the urn, apart from the initiatives of the other home.
One initiative seeks to better protect drinking water from pollution and to give farmers direct payments only if they do not use pesticides and reduce the use of antibiotics. Others want to ban synthetic sprays, including food imports and production.
Too radical for the influential president of the farmers' association Markus Ritter, who has successfully put pressure on his CVP over the past days and weeks. And in the FDP, Ritter could count on his other Jacques Bourgeois, the director of the association of farmers.
The leadership of the FDP party was denied
In the end, more than half of the Liberals voted against the counterattack, thus rejecting the leadership of the FDP party. In the spirit of the new ecological policy of the FDP, Green and SP want to make a proposal to declare the federal action plan for pesticides legally binding.
The Liberal Base wants more binding environmental goals, FDP research has shown. That is the indirect counterproduct of the two pesticide initiatives. But CVP also has to accept the critical question of why most of the president of the farmers' association is followed, though the central party also emphasizes its commitment to environmental issues.
Now the Council of States will have to deal with the counter-proposal. Farmers' Association Markus Ritter never lost. Again, he feels safe this time and is convinced he can prevent counterproduct in the small chamber.
But taking the two popular initiatives at polling stations without counterproduct represents a risky strategy. Green, SP and Green Liberals have announced in this case that they support at least the initiative for potable water. Left parties and DLPs classify them as the majority, as they do not forbid farmers to use pesticides completely, but want to withdraw direct payments.
Farmers and industry representatives may have underestimated the green wave in the population that lasts for months, perhaps after the autumn elections to vote in the spring of next year.
SRF Federal House Editor
Andy Müller is federal editor of Swiss television. Previously he was a thematic planner and deputy editorial editor of 10vor10. He has been in SRF since 2007.