Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 8 Jun, 2022 Updated Wed 8 Jun 2022 07:56 CEST
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Swiss airline has grounded a number of its flights. Photo: Pixabay

Swiss MPs don't give foreigners the right to vote, drought remains a possibility: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

MPs refuse to extend political rights for foreigners

The National Council rejected two parliamentary initiatives that would have given foreigners more voting rights.

The Green party demanded that foreigners who have been legally resident in Switzerland for five years be given the right to vote or stand for election at federal level. Another initiative, by Social Democratic party, called for foreign residents to be granted full political rights at municipal level — also after five years of residence.

However, the lower house of the parliament rejected the initiatives, suggesting instead that foreigners who have lived in Switzerland for a certain period of time become naturalised first and then take part in political life.

Currently, some cantons and communes give their resident foreigners the right to vote on local issues and to elect local politicians. 

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can foreigners vote?

The Federal Council wants to extend Covid certificate in 2023

Health Minister Alain Berset is asking the parliament to extend the certificate, as it would be the only way residents of Switzerland could travel to countries that still require proof of vaccination.

This is especially important, Berset said, as Swiss Covid-19 legislation limits the certificates’ validity only until the end of 2022.

Authorities therefore want to “extend certain provisions of the Covid-19 law so as to allow foreign travel”.

READ MORE: What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

SWISS cuts flights ahead of summer season

Just as people are getting ready for holiday travel, the national airline is reducing or canceling altogether some of its scheduled flights, or outsourcing them to other carriers.

From Geneva, the company is dropping five flights per week to London, while from Zurich flights to Nuremberg are suspended from July to October. The frequency is also reduced for flights to Gdansk, Dresden and Warsaw.

The Zurich-Vienna flights will be subcontracted to Austrian Airlines.

On long-haul routes, one Zurich to San Francisco flight per week will be eliminated.

The reasons, according to the company spokesperson, are “bottlenecks in air traffic control in Europe, at ground service providers around the world, as well as at SWISS".

Customers who already booked any of these flights will be notified by email and offered a travel alternative. They will also have the possibility of being reimbursed, the company said.

Despite weekend rains, drought is still a concern in Switzerland

The precipitation of the last few days, though heavy at times, “has not reached the deep layers of the ground”, according to MeteoNews weather service.

Although the rain provided some much-needed moisture for the crops, “the water deficit remains worrying”, especially as precipitation was not evenly distributed throughout the entire country.

The largest accumulations were in Ticino, with nearly 80 to 100 litres per square metre in some locations. The Geneva region, however, received only a few litres per square metre, MeteoNews noted.

While a few showers and thunderstorms may appear between Wednesday evening and Thursday, the weekend weather is going to be warm, further fuelling worries about drought.


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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/06/08 07:56

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