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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Fewer train connections in Switzerland, cheaper housing in Zurich and the rest of the news roundup on Thursday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Fewer connections are planned for 2023. Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

Coming soon: more affordable housing in Zurich

Rents are notoriously high in Switzerland’s largest city, but some relief is on the way.

Municipal authorities have successfully negotiated a barter deal with Welti-Furrer real estate company to offer a number of reasonably priced apartments in the Altstetten neighbourhood.

While the amount the flats are renting for was not published, Blick reports that the negotiations yielded “974 square metres of affordable living space to be rented out during 25 years”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How inflation is increasing housing costs in Switzerland

Swiss Federal Railways want to eliminate some train connections

In its draft timetable for 2023, the company (SBB ) proposes to reduce the number of trains circulating between some Swiss cities.

For instance, SBB is planning to do away with the trains departing from Bern at 7:10 am and 4:10 pm, and the departures from Zurich at 6:49 am.

Two morning connections on the Lucerne-Zurich route are also to be eliminated, along with come off-peak-hour trains in other parts on Switzerland.

However, the draft timetable for 2023 also provides for an expansion for the leisure traffic on weekends, including between Geneva and Chur.

New direct connections are also planned on the Romanshorn-Interlaken route. This means that the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland will be better linked to eastern Switzerland and the Zurich area.

Swissmedic to Moderna: It’s too early for second boosters

After Paul Burton, chief medical officer of the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, announced in the Swiss media this week that vaccines will have to be administered “year after year”, Switzerland’s drug regulatory body responded that second boosters are not yet planned in the country.

Swissmedic said that neither Moderna nor other vaccine manufacturers have submitted an authorisation request for a second booster in Switzerland.

In order for the process to get off the ground,the Federal Vaccinations Commission (FVC) will also have to issue a recommendation for the booster dose before it is given to all age groups.

For people over 65 or with chronic illnesses, this will likely be possible in the fall, according to FVC head. Christoph Berger.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Switzerland wants to speed up the purchase of American fighter jets

Although the decision to buy 36 US-made F-35A planes remains controversial, the Federal Council decided to accelerate the purchase.

With a number of other countries buying these fighter jets as well, the government is concerned there could be delivery delays. “In order for Switzerland to be able to protect its population from air threats beyond 2030, it must receive its first F-35As as early as 2027”, the Federal Council said in a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, the offer is valid only until March 31st, 2023, but “the deterioration of the security situation prompts the Federal Council to want to fill the gaps in military capabilities quicker than expected”.
 
No specific date is given but it will be before the March deadline, authorities said.

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 Tuesday

France complains about Swiss jobs, railway strike to disrupt train traffic, and other news from Switzerland on Tuesday.

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

Extension of cross-border home-working agreement creates ‘competitive disadvantage’

On June 29th, agreements concerning taxes and social security contributions of French cross-border employees who are still working from home were extended until October 31st.

Companies in France’s Haute-Savoie region, where most of cross-border workers employed in Geneva come from, are upset, claiming that home-office agreement makes working in Switzerland even more attractive for French workers, at the detriment of local businesses.

According to Christophe Coriou, head of the Haute-Savoie section of French employers, “these agreements accentuate the competitive disadvantage” of French companies compared to Swiss jobs — in terms of salaries, but also lower taxes and other perks.

“By emptying them of their human resources, Geneva penalises companies in Haute-Savoie”,  Coriou  said, adding that “teleworking of cross-border workers, which is perceived as an additional attraction to the salary, accentuates the competitive disadvantage of companies in neighboring France”.

READ MORE: Why French cross-border workers choose to work in Switzerland

And speaking of the Swiss-French border…

Railroad strike to affect cross-border train

A strike by French railroad workers scheduled to begin tonight at 7 pm and continue on Wednesday, will impact the Léman Express train, which links Vaud and Geneva with towns in France.

The normal schedule will be disrupted, and alternative transport on sections of the route will be put into place between certain stations.

Inflation has no impact on Swiss real estate prices

Although rising inflation — from 2.6 percent in April to 3.4 percent in June —  has increased the cost of living in Switzerland, property prices have not followed the upward so far, according to  Swiss marketplace group ( SMG) and the real estate consulting firm Cifi.

“Real estate prices do not currently seem to be influenced by the rise in key interest rates and inflation. Condominium apartments raised their prices by 1.1 percent compared to May, while single-family homes showed relative stagnation at 0.3 percent”, SMG said.

Rents are also mostly stable, increasing by only 0.1 percent. The biggest increase in expected to be in energy prices.

READ MORE: Inflation in Switzerland hits 3.4 percent for June

Forget milk and eggs…get fuel at the farm

Switzerland’s first biogas filling station is on a farm in Thayngen, Schaffhausen. The fuel comes from cow dung.

“It comes from manure, liquid manure and organic waste from our farm and other local farms,” said farmer Christian Müller.

While biogas may provide an alternative to regular fuel at a time when shortage may be looming, it is not cheap: a kilo — which corresponds to 1.5 litres — costs almost 2.90 francs, slightly more than fuelling up at the regular pump.

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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