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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
Tourist officials hope Russians will continue to visit Switzerland. Photo: Flughafen Zurich AG

Switzerland criticised for not sanctioning Russia

So far, Swiss reaction  has been limited to condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the government refraining from imposing any sanctions.

Now parliament members are urging authorities to take a more proactive approach.

“The Federal Council must take a clear position. Any other attitude would mean that Switzerland tolerates open war in the heart of Europe”, said MP  Fabian Molina.

Another deputy, Jürg Grossen, is also calling for Swiss participation in EU sanctions. “I expect the Federal Council to show solidarity with its European partners and to participate in EU sanctions”, he said .

All the political parties echo this call, except one. The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) urges Switzerland to practice restraint, remain neutral and “not copy EU sanctions”, said party president Marco Chiesa.

READ MORE: UPDATE: How Switzerland could be impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Will war between Russia and Ukraine impact Swiss tourism?

The country’s tourism body, Switzerland Tourism, is concerned that the armed conflict between the two Eastern European countries could  have repercussions on Swiss tourism.

Not only are tourism officials predicting fewer visitors from Russia, but they also fear that insecurity it creates will keep overseas tourists from coming to Europe altogether. considering such travel unsafe.

However, according to the tourism board’s  director Martin Nydegger, Switzerland’s tourism sector has weathered geopolitical crises before, proving to be resilient to such events.

SWISS unveils its first aircraft with Premium Economy Class

For the first time, Switzerland’s national airline will include this travel class on some of its planes — more comfortable than Economy but not as expansive as Business or First Class.

Seats with a bit more legroom and slightly deeper backrest recline are good news for those who are tired of being squashed in tight seats.

The first aircraft featuring Premium Economy will be deployed on SWISS’s Zurich to Miami route from the beginning of March.

Then they will be installed in all 12 of its Boeing 777-300ERs. After Miami, the next SWISS destinations to be served with Premium Economy-equipped aircraft will be San Francisco from mid-April and São Paulo from the end of April. Premium Economy will be available on all of SWISS’s Boeing 777-300ER routes from the end of May onwards.

Swiss immigration rate stable in 2021

Immigration remained virtually stable last year in Switzerland compared to 2020. Total immigration increased by 3.3 percent, according to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

At the end of 2021, 1.45 million EU/EFTA citizens and 738,204 third-country nationals resided in Switzerland. Italians formed the largest foreign population with 331,379 permanent residents. They were followed by the Germans (313,702 people), the Portuguese (258,943 people), and the French (151,551 people).

As for naturalisation, 36,917 foreigners acquired Swiss nationality in 2021, including 7,947 Germans, 4,207 Italians, and 3,152 French.

READ: EXPLAINED: Why so few third-generation Swiss are actually ‘Swiss’?

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 Friday

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

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]