Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Closer ties with border nations, and a threat of electricity shortage: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.
Swiss border regions seek closer cooperation with Europe
While relations between Bern and Brussels still remain strained after Switzerland walked out of negotiations with the EU last year, officials in Swiss border areas are eager to intensify mutual cooperation with neighbouring European regions.
For instance, in Geneva, which shares a border with France, “the development of relations between Switzerland and the European Union is a strategic issue”, said State Councilor Serge dal Busco, who is in charge of European issues at the cantonal level.
The Basel government has also announced it wants to strengthen ties with the nearby regions of Alsace in France and Baden-Württemberg in Germany.
Both cantons are closely linked economically with EU-member nations — not only though cross-border workforce employed in Switzerland, but also in regards to various common projects like transport infrastructure, and others.
Electricity shortage “not excluded” in Switzerland
We already know that electricity prices are expected to go up in the near future.
Now we learn that electricity shortages “are not excluded" next winter, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (Elcom).
“Over the past 50 years, a power shortage has never been more realistic than now”, said Michael Frank, director of the Association of Swiss Electrical Companies.
If this were to occur, however, the Organisation for Electricity Supply in Extraordinary Situations (Ostral) would activate an emergency plan to keep at least some electricity flowing, so “no one should panic", said its director Lukas Küng.
Disparities among cantons on the deportation of foreign criminals
Over the past three years, the deportation rate for foreign offenders has averaged around 60 percent, according to official data.
However, this figure varies greatly from one canton to another.
Geneva, for instance, expels the highest number of criminal foreigners (77 percent), because “the population of delinquents is very largely made up of people passing through who have no connection with Switzerland”, according to the canton’s Attorney General. Olivier Jornot.
In Neuchâtel, on the other hand, only 26.7 percent of convicts have been expelled as “it is our duty to apply this law with moderation”, said Attorney General Pierre Aubert.
He added that expulsion has to be waved when foreign criminals come from a country that does not take back its nationals.
However, the cantonal differences in expulsion could soon fade, since the Parliament has adopted a motion which seeks to reduce the flexibility the cantonal prosecutors have in this matter.
The legislation, approved in a referendum and introduced in 2016, stipulates that expulsion from Switzerland applies to foreigners who have committed serious crimes warranting at least a three-year prison sentence, including murder, rape, serious sexual assault, violent acts, armed robbery, drug trafficking and people trafficking, as well as abuse of the Swiss social security system.
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