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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Why are the Swiss falling out of love with cross-border shopping and what are the Swiss actually worried about? Read about this and other local developments in our brief news roundup.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
New exchange rate is not favourable for cross-border shopping.Photo by Pixabay

What the Swiss worry about most

We reported on Wednesday that the top concern of the Swiss public in 2021 was the Covid pandemic and its aftermath. That finding comes from a recently released Worry Barometer survey by Credit Suisse bank.

However, an even newer study, carried out by Moneyland.ch consumer website, reports that “the Ukraine conflict is now the biggest worry among residents of Switzerland”.

On the other hand, “the Swiss largely consider the pandemic to be ended. The coronavirus did not even land a place in the top 20 biggest causes of worry among residents of Switzerland”.

The reason for this disparity is that Credit Suisse survey covered 2021, when Covid was the dominant issue in the country and nobody suspected that Russia would invade Ukraine in the near future.

The Moneyland study was conducted in April, which explains why the public’s main concerns have shifted.

However, some worries that showed up in last year’s study still preoccupy many Swiss today. Among them are climate change (57 percent of respondents), the state of the environment (54 percent), and cost of health insurance premiums (51).

READ MORE: REVEALED: What Swiss residents worry about the most

 Purchasing power of cross-border shoppers is declining

Swiss shoppers who bought food and other products in neighbouring countries used to save quite a bit of money. However, this practice is no longer as advantageous.

Blame it on the currency exchange.

Just a few weeks ago, the franc and the euro reached near-parity. Now, however, the euro is strengthening against the franc, with one euro buying 1.05 francs.

As an example, at the moment, 5,000 francs is worth about 4,700 euros — in other words, a “loss” of 300 francs in a span of a few weeks.

According to Tribune de Genève, 300 euros is not a trivial sum “in a context of general inflation, where the prices of consumer goods and personal services are increasing, impacting the purchasing power of households”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What does euro-franc parity mean for Switzerland?

Zermatt hotel rated among the 10 best in the world

The Omnia Hotel in the Valais resort of Zermatt  is ranked in the 5th place overall out of 25 rated in TripAdvisor’s new “Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best” hotels worldwide.

It did exceptionally on the four criteria judged, namely its location, cleanliness, service and value for money.

The wood-and-glass hotel sits at the foot of the famous Matterhorn, which certainly didn’t hurt it in the “location” category.

The Omni. Screenshot, “Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best”

Among  “mountain”  hotels, The Omnia moves up to the second place. This particular category includes two other Swiss hotels, Parnass, also in Zermatt, which landed in the 13th place, and Boutique Hotel Schluessel in Beckenreid (Nidealden), in the 17th.

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 Monday

More on impending gas shortage, ‘unreliable’ Swiss trains, and other news from Switzerland on Monday.

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

Candles could become much in demand this winter

As The Local reported last week, Switzerland is at risk of a gas shortage this winter and, depending on the situation, restrictions on consumption during the coldest months can’t be excluded.

As Lukas Küng, head of Organisation for Power Supply in Extraordinary Situations (OSTRAL) explained to Swiss media on Sunday, this could lead to electricity being shut down for four to eight hours each day in some areas.

He added that households would need to stock up on candles — clearly not so much for heating as for light.

Other possible consequences: “traffic would be at a standstill, with light signals out of order and tunnels closed. Public transport would also be paralysed”, according to Küng.

READ MORE: ‘It could hit us hard’: Switzerland prepares for impending gas shortage

And this leads us to the next question…

Which Swiss communes would be most impacted by gas shortage?

Logically, towns and communities that depend most on gas, versus other energy sources, will be most affected by the shortage.

According to Switzerland’s Watson news outlet, which based its calculations on the data from the Federal Statistical Office (OFS), the highest gas consumption in Switzerland is found the Swiss-speaking parts of Switzerland, notably in Vaud,

The 10 most gas-dependent Swiss communes, and the percentage of buildings heated with gas, are as follows:

  1. Rivaz (Vaud) (70 percent)
  2. Saint-Saphorin (Vaud) (68)
  3. Vinzel (Vaud) (67)
  4. Langenthal (Bern) (64)
  5. Cossonay (Vaud) (64)
  6. Soleure (Solothurn) (64)
  7. Allschwil (Basel-Country) (62)
  8. Lotzwil (Bern) (61)
  9. Aigle (Vaud) (61)
  10. Sierre (Valais) (61)

Double decker trains: ‘Lack reliability and comfort’.

Even though Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) invested 32 million francs in trains intended to shorten the journey on the Lausanne-Bern and on the Winterthur (ZH) – Saint-Margrethen (SG) lines, this goal will not be achieved.

SBB head Vincent Ducrot announced that double-decker trains that Switzerland ordered from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier especially for this purpose shake too much on curves, so they actually have to slow down on turns rather than pick up speed, resulting in a “lack of reliability and comfort”.

Since being put into service in 2018, these trains have also been plagued by a series of technical breakdowns and massive delays, Ducrot said.

Russian hackers attacked Foreign Ministry

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) was a victim of phishing emails, according to a confidential intelligence document from June 24th, as reported in the Swiss media on Sunday.  

In these fraudulent messages, the content of which was not made public, Russian cyber criminals attempted to obtain sensitive data, which could serve for espionage or sabotage purposes.

However, the emails were intercepted and deleted, so no security breach took place.

READ MORE: How Switzerland is preparing to fend off Russian cyberattacks

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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