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

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 Wednesday
Army knife is probably Switzerland's best known invention. Photo by Patrick on Unsplash

Russian gas embargo could disrupt Switzerland

After the Bucha massacre, new EU sanctions against Russia are expected to follow, possibly including gas embargo — a move which would impact Switzerland significantly, according to energy expert Andreas Tresch.

The reason is that one in five Swiss households uses gas for heating and 7.5 percent of national energy needs are supplied by Russia.

“Switzerland would face a real problem if this were to happen,” Tresch told Blick.

Germany and other EU countries have  gas stocks as well as the supply alternatives from other nations, which means they “have a considerable advantage over Switzerland”,he said

READ MORE: What would an embargo on Russian gas look like?

Single-family homes are becoming scarcer in Switzerland

A new trend is growing in Switzerland’s property market: according to a new real estate study by the Zürcher Kantonalbank ZKB, a large proportion of older single-family houses are being demolished and replaced by multi-family dwellings like apartment buildings.

In the canton of Zurich alone, almost 400 single-family homes were demolished last year to make space for new construction, said ZKB’s real estate expert Jörn Schellenberg.

He added that “the single-family house is becoming obsolete in the rest of Switzerland as well,” because there is a shortage of building land throughout the country and housing must therefore be densified.

Switzerland is the leader in patent filings

If you think the Swiss are unimaginative, think again: Switzerland is the country with the most inventions in the world per capita, according to the European Patent Office (EPO).

Per million inhabitants, Switzerland remains the lead, followed by Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland.

EPO press release screenshot

By canton, inventors from Zurich filed the most applications, followed by Vaud, Basel-City, Aargau, Geneva and Neuchâtel. These six cantons are among the top 30 regions in Europe in number of patent applications.

In term of sectors, that of medical technologies has applied for the most patents, followed by consumer goods, metrology, electronic devices and machinery, as well as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biotechnology.

As for which Swiss companies asked for most patents, pharmaceutical giant Roche is in the first place and the electro-technical group ABB in the second. Next are Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris, followed by Nestlé and Swatch Group.

In case you are wondering what the Swiss invented in the past, the answer is here:

12 life-changing inventions you didn’t know were Swiss

Employment: Almost 250,000 Swiss job are up for grabs

Swiss x28 AG job platform recorded nearly quarter of a million vacancies in the first quarter of 2022.

Most employment opportunities right now (13,698 vacancies) are in the health sector, followed by construction (12,585 vacancies), retail trade, the IT sector, as well as restaurants and hotels, each with more than 11,000 vacancies.

Most of the job offers (55,942)  are found in the canton of Zurich. Next are Bern (40,787), Aargau (17,448),  and St. Gallen (16,117)

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]