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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Rising energy prices, young immigrants show reluctance to obtain Swiss citizenship and other news stories from Switzerland on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Even this is more expensive in Switzerland than in nearby countries. Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP

Rising energy prices: Government debating help for households

The Federal Council is examining the possibility of granting state aid for private individuals to mitigate the effects of increasing energy costs, according to Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga.

The government is “observing closely the extent of the increase in electricity prices”, before deciding whether “measures are necessary, at least for low-income households”, she said.

Authorities are also “doing everything to ensure that there is enough gas and electricity in winter”, Sommaruga added.

The Federal Council is also concerned that a sudden explosion in costs will leave Swiss energy sector “short of cash and unable to carry out their supply mission”.

More than half of Switzerland’s population want closer links  with NATO

A new poll of 20,000 people by Sotomo Institute shows that 56 percent of respondents support closer collaboration with NATO, as well as increased military spending.

Wider support for strengthened links is due to the war in Ukraine and eventual threat Russia could pose to Europe and Switzerland’s safety.

However, stronger partnership with NATO doesn’t mean the Swiss are in favour of joining the alliance.

In fact, only 33 percent of respondents are in favour of full NATO membership, while 62 percent are against it.

EXPLAINED: Why isn’t Switzerland in NATO?

Young immigrants opt out of Swiss citizenship

Many foreign nationals are eligible to become naturalised, but a recent assessment by the Federal Migration Commission (FKM) shows that only a fraction use this option.

One of the reasons, according to FKM director Walter Leimgruber, is that many migrants are EU nationals who feel no need to become Swiss as they face almost no restrictions in Switzerland, apart from the inability to vote.

Also, naturalisation procedures, both regular and fast-track, are complex, deterring many eligible foreigners from applying.

More information about naturalisation process in Switzerland can be found here.

EXPLAINED: Why ‘simplified’ Swiss naturalisation is actually not that simple

Switzerland pays more for Covid shots than its neighbours

Although the contracts that Swiss government has signed with manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines are confidential, a new document reveals that Switzerland pays around 28 francs per dose.

As a comparison, the EU price for one dose of a Pfizer vaccine ranges from 15.50 to 19.50 euros, and for Moderna from 19  to 21.50 euros. (Euro and franc are at near 1:1 parity).

However, this price disparity can’t be attributed solely to the fact that Switzerland is generally more expensive than most other countries. Rather, the price of vaccines is based on quantities purchased – the larger the volume, the cheaper the price.

In all, Switzerland bought smaller quantities of Covid vaccines than the EU.

And while the price the government paid for the doses is not passed on to the population, as vaccinations are free of charge, the overall costs of the pandemic are among the reasons for higher health insurance premiums expected in 2023.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Swiss healthcare costs are rising and how you can save

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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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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]

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