European Solar Prize for the Swiss Phase-Out of Nuclear Energy
3003 Bern, Switzerland
Switzerland intends to phase out nuclear energy. On 25 May 2011, the Federal Council declared that existing nuclear power plants would not be replaced at the end of their running time. It is worth noting that it was not so much the pressure of the opposition or the public but rather the dedication of individual Federal Council members that led to this farsighted decision. Individual members of the Swiss Federal Council were the driving forces behind the phase-out of nuclear energy, particularly Federal President Micheline Calmy-Rey along with members Doris Leuthard (Energy Minister), Dr Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (Finance Minister) and Simonetta Sommaruga (Justice Minister). In September 2011, the Council of States followed the Federal Council's lead and confirmed the nuclear energy phase-out. The clear decision of the Council of States thus confirms the current orientation of Switzerland's energy policy and the policy of the Federal Council. The Federal Council and parliament will now tackle this challenge together with the general public and the business world. The objective is a sustainable power supply based on energy efficiency and renewables. This is a historical decision in Europe. It illustrates the political courage required to commit to the vital energy turnaround without nuclear energy - so important for people and the environment. We congratulate the Swiss Federal Council and the four members of it mentioned on being presented with the European Solar Prize 2011. The prize will be accepted by the Swiss Ambassador in Berlin, Dr Tim Guldimann.