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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
Any way you slice it, it’s getting more expensive. Photo by Pixabay

Swiss MPs critical of government’s restraint toward massacre in Ukraine

While the European Union, the United States, and other countries have unanimously condemned Russia’s recent massacre of Ukrainian civilians in the city of Bucha, Switzerland’s reaction to the atrocity has been more measured.

Now Swiss MPs are criticising President Ignazio Cassis for using the term “events” in  reference to the massacre, instead of  “war crimes” or “crimes against the humanity”, as other nations have done.

Cassis, who is also Switzerland’s  Minister of Foreign Affairs, responded that calling the murders crime against humanity “is not a political but a legal gesture. It is up to a court to characterise this situation as such. One can imagine that it is a crime against humanity, but diplomacy must be attentive to the use of words”.

He added that even though the images from Bucha “deeply shocked us all as human beings, a state must react with a cool head”.

Swiss pizza lovers to pay higher prices

A number of goods have become more expensive in Switzerland in the past weeks, including energy and raw materials, as well as foods like coffee and pasta, among others.

Now higher costs are also impacting one of Switzerland’s favourite foods: pizza.

That’s because since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, the price of wheat  — an ingredient in flour used to make pizza crust — has risen by over 30 percent.

An owner of a pizza restaurant in Zurich told Blick newspaper on Monday that the price of 31 francs he paid for 25 kg of flour before the invasion has now jumped to 48 francs.

As for Patrick Bircher, CEO of Dieci pizza chain, “in addition to the price increases for wheat, we are particularly concerned about any supply bottlenecks. There are massive price increases and an acute shortage of raw materials”.

READ MORE: How Covid, inflation and the Ukraine invasion has made Switzerland more expensive

Speaking of price hikes, they are also also hitting home

Single-family homes and apartments have become more expensive as well in March — by 0.5 and 0.4 percent respectively, according to the new Swiss Real Estate Offer Index, published Monday by Immoscout24.

While this may seem like a very insignificant increase in terms of percentage, given the already high price of Swiss properties, this amount can add up to tens of thousands of francs.

The price per square metre went up to about 7,277 francs for houses, and 8,192 francs for apartments — both higher than in February.

In terms of rents, there has been a slight downward trend in some regions: – 0.6 percent in central Switzerland, – 0.2 percent in the northwest, and – 0.3 percent in the Zurich area, the latter usually being among the most expensive in the country.

Prices remained unchanged in the Lake Geneva region and in eastern Switzerland, the study shows.

The war in Ukraine is “not yet having any direct effects” on the real estate market, but “it should affect housing costs indirectly through energy prices”, possibly leading to “a significant increase in charges”, according to Immoscout24.

READ MORE: Swiss rents: This is where cheapest and priciest apartments are

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

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]