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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

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

A drone shot shows the Roman arena excavation site in Kaiseraugst. Photo: Kantonsarchäologie Aargau; Kanton Aargau
A drone shot shows the Roman arena excavation site in Kaiseraugst. Photo: Kantonsarchäologie Aargau; Kanton Aargau

Switzerland to revise social assistance and integration requirements for non-Europeans

Third-country nationals are significantly more at risk of becoming dependent on social assistance than the Swiss or citizens of EU or EFTA states, the government said.

To counter this trend, the Federal Council is planning to introduce a series of measures to increase employment in this target group and to contain the increase in social assistance spending by cantons and municipalities.

At the same time, federal authorities also want to include an additional integration criterion in the Federal Law on Foreigners, focusing not only on the primary job / residence seeker, but his entire family as well.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How applying for social benefits could see your Swiss work permit cancelled

Tenants could see their rents increase

Cantons are considering introducing an obligation to install solar panels when renovating roofs or facades of buildings. As a result, apartments and houses could become more expensive to rent.

The federal government already ruled that by year 2050, most of Switzerland’s energy should be solar, which means installations capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of power should be put into place by the deadline. To speed up the process, Swissolar, the  association of solar energy professionals, is seeking a mandate to oblige owners to install solar panels on all roof and facade surfaces during renovations.

Solar panels could become mandatory during building renovations. Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.

Covid certificate opponents in Switzerland come from political left and right

Opponents of the certificate obligation can be found on both sides of the political spectrum, ranging from supporters of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to environmentalists, according to a new study by the Swiss Centre of Competence in Social Sciences (FORS).

FORS researchers also made the link between sympathisers of the European Union and defenders of the Covid certificate.

“We know that questions of European policy and immigration have a very strong impact on Swiss politics and on voting preferences”, study-co-author Line Rennwald said in an interview  with RTS public broadcaster.

“We see that there is a fairly clear correlation between the support for further European integration of Switzerland and support for the Covid certificate”.

READ MORE: Should Switzerland abolish the Covid certificate?

Ruins of a Roman-era amphitheater unearthed in Switzerland

Archaeologists working in Kaiseraugst, canton Aargau, have uncovered the remains of what is believed to be the last gladiator arena built before the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD.

The oval-shaped amphitheater was constructed of stone blocks and mortar in an abandoned quarry that had been in use until late antiquity, according to Jakob Baerlocher, head of excavations at the site.

Spectators gathered there to watch and cheer on bloody gladiator flights and animal hunts.    

Kaiseraugust, named after the ancient Roman city of Augusta Raurica, is the most important Roman excavation site in Switzerland.

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

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

From a solid approval of all the issues in Sunday's referendum to higher beverage prices: 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

The Swiss say ‘yes’ to three proposals in Sunday’s referendum

Voters in Switzerland have accepted all three of the Federal Council’s proposals, rejecting, at the same time, opponents’ arguments.

The law making organ donation opt out across the country was approved by 60.20 percent, providing more money and staff to controversial EU border protection agency Frontex passed with 71.48 percent, and Lex Netflix – which makes streaming services pay a percentage fee to support Swiss filmmaking – passed with 58.42 percent.

READ MORE: Swiss back ‘Netflix’ law and steer clear of ‘Frontexit’

Read about the reactions in Switzerland to the vote results in our article to be published later today.

Price of beverages is soaring in Switzerland

Another popular product is becoming more expensive: non-alcoholic beverages.

“The price of PET [bottle] is skyrocketing, and with it that of mineral water and soft drinks”, according to a report in 20 Minuten.

“And there is a risk of further price increases.”

For instance, prices per litre of mineral water are now 5 to 10 cents higher, depending on the retailer. 

Of the four major retailers that the newspaper surveyed — Migros, Coop, Aldi and Lidl — only Coop has not yet increased the price of beverages, although its spokesperson conceded the company “cannot currently rule out price adjustments,” due to higher cost of raw materials, the shortage of packaging material, and the increased transport and energy costs.

Beverages have joined a growing list of other everyday products whose prices have increased due to inflation and war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Seven products that are becoming more expensive in Switzerland

Migros gets tough on “unscrupulous” customers

Due to a growing number of shoplifters, some self-service Migros stores in Zurich are installing special barriers allowing only those who pay for their purchases to exit the store.

Customers who pay at self-checkout terminals must now scan the QR code of their receipt to open a barrier and leave with their purchases.

This is a rather drastic measure, “as Migros and Coop have so far relied on individual responsibility and random checks”, according to Tagblatt newspaper.

Russians critical of the Putin regime want to remain in Switzerland

A number of Russian women in Switzerland, who have criticised the war on social media and are therefore afraid of repercussions from the Kremlin, are asking the Federal Council to grant them asylum.

“I can understand that these women are concerned,” said Ulrich Schmid, Professor of Russian Culture and Society at the University of St. Gallen. “It is possible that the Russian secret service reports on people who are critical of the war”.

Should Russian deserters and opponents of the war get asylum in Switzerland? MPs’ views diverge.

For a Green MP Balthasar Glättli, Switzerland should grant these war objectors humanitarian visas.

However, according to Thomas Aeschi from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), “Switzerland should treat all asylum seekers equally”, pointing out there are many people in other countries “who are also threatened”.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Russians who remain in Switzerland can apply to their canton of residence to extend their existing residence permit. “It will be checked whether they meet the legal requirements for this”, SEM said.

READ MORE: Reader question: Do Russians now have to leave Switzerland?

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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