The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Parliament wants to link cheese allowance to minimum price

Parliament wants to link the allowances for milk with minimum prices. On Monday, the Council of States, as the second chamber, adopted a corresponding motion by Jacques Nicolet, a member of the Vaud SVP National Council.

The small chamber approved the proposal by 29 votes to 15 with no abstentions. It thus followed the minority of the preliminary committee led by Bernese SVP Councillor of States Werner Salzmann. He received support from across party lines - for example from the SP Councillors of State Carlo Sommaruga (GE) and Pierre-Yves Maillard (VD) as well as from Pascal Broulis (VD) of the Free Democrats.

The situation for milk producers is very difficult, said Maillard. Farmers were giving up milk production every day, every week. It is important that the subsidies actually benefit them and are not used for price dumping when exporting cheese.

The majority of the committee was against the motion. Milk producers would be at a double disadvantage if the federal government reclaimed overpaid supplements, said committee spokesman Peter Hegglin (center/ZG). However, the committee recognized that there was a need for action with regard to the dairy industry.

The Federal Council was also against the motion. It feared implementation problems, a return to state-fixed milk prices and a large administrative burden. Now it has to make a proposal for implementation.

©Keystone/SDA

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