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What changes in Switzerland in December 2019

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The Local - [email protected]
What changes in Switzerland in December 2019
Photo: AFP

Here's a look at all the important changes in Switzerland in December.


MPs will elect the new cabinet (Federal Council) on December 11th 

Switzerland’s executive cabinet comprises seven members  representing the country’s largest parties. Each member heads a government department.

In the October parliamentary elections, the Green party made historic gains, getting an unprecedented 13 percent of the vote. It is now vying for two seats in the Federal Council, possibly replacing one member each of Social Democrats and Radical parties. 

The new cabinet will be in place until the next national elections in 2023.

Gun safety laws

Switzerland has the strongest gun culture of anywhere in Europe and perhaps the strongest in the world after the United States. 

That said, the country still strongly regulates the way in which citizens must store, use and acquire their guns. 

A range of new gun laws - including a higher fee on semi-automatic weapons - was introduced in August 2019, while from December onwards gun retailers will be required to meet a higher standard when selling their wares. 

From December 14th, 2019, arms dealers will need to notify the relevant cantonal authorities for every procurement, sale or distribution of firearms they engage in. 

This will help the authorities keep a better record of how many guns there are in circulation and who possesses them. 

Leman Express

As The Local covered in November, the Leman Express is set to open in the Geneva region in mid-December. 

The express train link - which is set to be the biggest cross-border train network in Europe - will reduce journey times and cut traffic in and around Geneva. 

When it opens on December 15th, it will comprise 45 stations and 230 kilometres of track - extending beyond the Geneva canton borders into Vaud as well as France. 

It will reduce road traffic in Geneva by 12 percent during peak hours. Almost half a million vehicles - 446,700 to be exact - crossed the cantonal borders of Geneva each day in 2018, as estimated by the Canton of Geneva.

According to the SBB, the network will include 40 new trains and will transport more than 50,000 people daily. The SBB has posted details of the route changes here.

As anyone who has spent time on Geneva’s roads will know, the city's traffic is the worst in Switzerland. According to the Tom Tom Traffic Index, which ranks the world's cities according to congestion and hours lost in traffic, Geneva is the worst in the country - around 25 places worse than second-placed Zurich.

Geneva even places lower than larger cities like Shanghai, Hamburg and Singapore - with Geneva losing 138 hours per year during peak hours on work days.

International trains


Direct trains from Paris to Bern are being axed, along with a number of other services. It’s all spelt out here.


Switzerland’s trains shift to their winter timetable

The coming cold means it’s finally time for winter sports. If you’re planning on hitting the slopes, the SBB has put in place a range of changes on its train networks which will come into place on the 21st of December. 

You can check out these links below.







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