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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Organic farming takes special effort. PATRICK PLEUL / DPA / AFP

The Swiss want to travel again – to Italy

Since Italy has relaxed its entry restrictions on May 16th, an increasing number of Swiss residents is booking holidays south of the border.

“We have noticed a general growth in demand for almost all destinations, but above all for Italy the numbers are really increasing”, said Carmen Doré, general manager of FTI Touristik tour agency.

The strongest demand among Swiss tourists is Sardinia, Sicily, and Calabria, although regions within a driving distance from Switzerland, like Lombardy, Piedmont and Tuscany, are also popular, she said.

READ MORE: Travelling from Switzerland: Five websites that help you plan your holidays abroad

Organic food costs almost twice as much in Switzerland as in Austria and Germany

It is well known that prices for goods and services are higher in Switzerland  than in most European countries.

So it will not come as a surprise to anyone that prices for organic meat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products are significantly higher in Switzerland than in neighbour countries Austria and Germany.

The reason, according to Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), which made the cost comparison, is because it is more expensive for Swiss farmers to produce. “Anyone who grows organic vegetables has to remove weeds manually; they cannot simply spray the field in half an hour”, the NZZ said.  

Farmers in Austria and Germany do the same, but work is much more expensive in Switzerland because the general wage level is higher. “This pushes the local organic prices up”, NZZ explained.  

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

For a comfortable retirement, the Swiss must save 14 percent of their wages

In order to ensure an adequate standard of living during retirement, a person over the age of 50 in Switzerland must set aside – beyond the second pillar – 14 percent of their income, according to an analysis by UBS bank, which compared the pension systems of 24 countries.

In international comparison, Switzerland ranks after as the United Arab Emirates (0 percent), Singapore (3), Holland (5) ), Saudi Arabia (7) and Australia (7). However, it is ahead of its neighbours  Italy (28), Germany (30),  and France (44), as well as the United States (42).

Delivery of Novavax vaccine is delayed

While Switzerland’s inoculation programme with Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna vaccines is in full swing, the 6 million doses the country ordered from US manufacturer Novavax have not been delivered.

And since Novavax has not yet submitted an application for approval in Switzerland, the delivery will be delayed further.

Unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which incorporate the so-called mRNA technology, Novavax is protein-based, making it particularly suitable for booster shots or against new mutations of the coronavirus.

Swiss like living in cities

Property prices have been rising in Switzerland, but they are not particularly high in relation to income, according to new study by Raiffeisen Bank.

Nevertheless, the home ownership rate is only 36 percent.

“Historically, Switzerland has been a land of tenants,” said Martin Neff, Raiffeisen chief economist, adding that “the standard of Swiss rental apartments is very high”.

Also, people still like living in cities.

“Despite the alleged loss of attractiveness due to the pandemic, the city is still a very popular place for tenants,” Neff said.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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For members


Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
MPs debate tax breaks for childcare services. Photo by Rashid Sadykov on Unsplash

Geneva vaccination centres will remain open despite USA-Russia summit

Although certain parts of the city will be shut on Wednesday due to the meeting this week between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, health authorities have said that Geneva’s vaccination facilities will continue to operate.

Even if some modifications will have to be made, “their impact will be minimal”, according to the cantonal pharmacist Nathalie Vernaz-Hegi.

READ MORE: Historic Swiss lakeside villa spruced up for Biden-Putin talks

Night trains and buses will resume their activity in July

Suspended since November, following the Federal Council’s decision to close restaurants at 11 pm, public transportation has not, or rarely, operated during the night since that time.
This is set to change in July, especially as there are now enough train drivers, particularly in the German-speaking Switzerland.
Shortages still remain in the French-speaking areas, as well as Ticino, but they should be resolved by fall.

Parents might be able to deduct more taxes for daycare costs

The parliament is debating about increasing the deduction for childcare costs, from 6,500 to 10,000 francs.

MP Christa Markwalder proposed this motion, arguing that it would allow a better reconciliation of professional and family life, as well as better integration of women into the labour market.

Opponents, however, claim  that such a deduction would lead to considerable tax losses, without having any positive effect on equality between men and women.

However, the proposal has every chance of succeeding, supporters say.

READ MORE: How to decide where to live in Switzerland based on affordability

Deportations of foreign criminals should be improved for minor cases, MPs say

The National Council has widely adopted a motion proposing several changes to criminal law relating to the expulsion of foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland,

The motion proposes three options.

Firstly, the Public Prosecutor’s Office should be empowered to order expulsion in minor cases. Today, only a court can make this decision.

Secondly, foreign defendants without a residence permit or who entered Switzerland solely with the intention of committing a crime, should no longer be entitled to a defense.

Finally, the list of offenses must be re-examined to exclude minor ones; this includes contraventions leading to compulsory expulsion, in particular when they were committed by young foreigners who grew up in Switzerland.

Swiss residents opt to invest their money in pension funds

People in Switzerland have a marked preference for placing their money in pension funds and life insurance over other investment options, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group.

The study showed that the two investment vehicles accounted for 41 percent of the estimated $3.3 trillion of financial wealth in 2020.

Next — 32 percent — are deposits in foreign currencies, followed by equities and investment funds (23 percent).

At the end of 2020, the share of Swiss financial assets was more than 6 percent of  Western Europe’s.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local please get in touch with us at [email protected]