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

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 Monday
More trains will circuate between Switzerland and Italy. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland starts issuing Covid certificates

Switzerland’s much awaited Covid health passes for people who have been fully vaccinated, recovered from coronavirus or recently tested negative, will be released in stages starting today.

“The system will be implemented gradually and it will be ready for use throughout Switzerland at the end of June 2021”, the government announced.

Certificates will be available either on paper or in electronic form (i.e. through a QR code).

In both cases, they will be accompanied by an official government electronic signature, while authorities said holders will also need to show their ID or passport when presenting the certificate

READ MORE: Switzerland to issue first Covid-19 passes on Monday

Switzerland approves coronavirus vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds

The country’s regulatory body Swissmedic has authorised the Pfizer / Biontech vaccine for ages 12 through 15.

While there has been some debate about the usefulness of inoculating this age group, Urs Karrer, president of Switzerland’s Covid-19 Task Force, pointed out that “vaccinating children is perfectly reasonable if we want to achieve herd immunity”.

Aargau is the first canton to announce that adolescents in this age group can already register for the vaccine.

READ MORE: Children in Switzerland could get vaccinated at age 10, even if parents refuse


Higher tax rates will put some cantons ‘under pressure’

The Group of Seven wealthy democracies (G7) has decided on Saturday to support a new global minimum tax rate — 15 percent — that companies would have to pay, regardless of where their headquarters are located.

This means that most Swiss cantons would have to increase their corporate tax rates.

Right now, 16 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons tax corporations less than 15 percent of their income, with Zug offering the lowest rate, at just over 12 percent.

As a result of this measure, “tax competition between cantons will be reduced ”, said Jan-Egbert Sturm, professor of economics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

First Swiss victims of the breakdown in negotiations with the EU

The end of the negotiations between Bern and Brussels has claimed its first victim: the health technology sector.

Several medical companies can no longer export their goods to the European Union, according to Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

That’s because their products that are certified in Switzerland are no longer recognised in the EU and European companies are refusing to import them for fear of violating EU rules.

One of the affected companies, Precimed in Biel (BE), which manufactures high-precision bone drills, “lost around a third of its business overnight”, according to its director Rudolf Eggen.

Rail links between Switzerland Italy expanded

From June 13th , Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) will add a train between Milan and Geneva. The direct Geneva-Venice connection will be put into service as well.

On the Lötschberg line, two additional trains between Basel-Milan are planned, along with s Milan-Basel-Frankfurt link. Also, three more trains are added on the Gotthard axis, between Zurich / Basel and Milan, between Zurich and Venice, as well as between Frankfurt – Lucerne and Milan.

As a reminder, international links to Paris resumed in mid-May. Four connections are available from Geneva, two from Lausanne and three from Zurich.

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]