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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]

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For members


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
Greece is the top destination for Swiss tourists this summer. Photo by ARIS MESSINIS / AFP

Covid-19 law: If at first you don’t succeed, try again

Even though more than 60 percent of Swiss voters approved the Covid-19 Act in a vote on June 13th, opponents are collecting signatures again to launch a second referendum to repeal the law.

“As expected, the lies and the disinformation campaign of the Federal Council, have met with partial success”, opponents of the Covid law said after results were tallied up on Sunday.

Assuming the 50,000 signatures are collected and deposited with at Federal he Chancellery in early July, the referendum could not be held until November.

Read about the reactions in Switzerland to referendum results in our article today.

READ MORE: Referendum result: Swiss snub pesticide ban but welcome anti-terror law

Vaccinated Americans will be able to come to Switzerland at last

The Federal Council announced that due to the favourable epidemiological situation in Switzerland, the country will be opening its borders to vaccinated tourists from third nations, including the USA, from June 28th , five days after ratifying the current ordinance banning entry.

However, travellers from countries where ‘variants of concern’ are circulating — currently they are Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK —unless they have been vaccinated. All others will still have to present a negative test and will be required to quarantine upon arrival.

The Local will publish a detailed article about this easing.

READ MORE: How does a country ever get off Switzerland’s ‘variant’ list?

Basel-City to introduce a minimum wage

The citizens of Basel voted on Sunday in favour of introducing a minimum wage set at 21 francs an hour.

It is the first German-speaking canton to approve this measure, after three Swiss-French cantons, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Geneva, and the Italian-speaking Ticino, have already done so.

The minimum hourly salary ranges from 19 francs in Ticino to 23.14 in Geneva.

Switzerland donates AstraZeneca vaccine to needy countries

It is official: the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used in Switzerland. The 5.3 million doses that the government ordered will be donated to nations where there is a shortage of Covid vaccines.

Authorities decided to give up this vaccine because they prefer to rely on Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna products, which use the RNA technology, believed to be more effective against the disease and its variants, according to a report in SonntagsZeitung.

Another reason is that AstraZeneca’s reputation has suffered after some people developed rare side effects and died after being given doses of the vaccine.

Bookings for foreign holidays are up

Residents of Switzerland are heading abroad this summer in droves: according to Hotelplan tour agency, there has been a 50-percent increase in reservations for beach destinations when compared to 2019.

Greece is by far the most popular choice, followed by Cyprus and Spain, including its islands of Mallorca and the Canaries.

This trend can be attributed to the easing of entry restrictions in these countries and the progress of the vaccination campaign in Switzerland, said Hotelplan general manager of Tim Bachmann.

“The fact that the Federal Council no longer advises against tourist travel abroad and that important tourist are no longer considered unsafe also has a positive effect”, he added.

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]