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

Putin sends Switzerland his "heartfelt wishes", chaos continues at some airports, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Chaos continues at European airports. Photo by Daniel ROLAND / AFP

Russia’s president congratulates Switzerland on its National Day

Although Vladimir Putin is not exactly Switzerland’s favourite politician right now, and vice-versa, Russian president had nevertheless sent his Swiss counterpart, Ignazio Cassis, “heartfelt wishes for the national holiday” on Monday.

The message is all the more surprising as the Russian embassy has repeatedly spread negative tweets about Switzerland since the country had adopted EU sanctions against the Kremllin.

These Swiss cities will be most impacted by gas shortage

The government has already warned the population that due to the imminent shortage of natural gas from Russia, Swiss households should prepare to lower the heat in their homes next winter.

However, the situation is expected to be even worse in cities where a high number of apartments are heated with gas.

For instance, in Solothurn 65 percent of residential buildings depend on gas for heating. That proportion is 60 percent in Biel, 55 percent in Lucerne, 51 percent in Zurich, 47 percent in Bern, and 43 percent in Basel.

And even though some households will suffer, authorities are urging people not to buy electric heaters, as The Local reported on Monday, because “electricity consumption will increase massively when the situation is already tense”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why you should hold off on buying electric heaters in Switzerland

Know this before you travel: Brussels and Frankfurt are the “worst airports of the summer”

European airports are crumbling under the massive rush of tourists, with lost luggage, missed connections, and passengers stranded for hours.

Brussels and Frankfurt have recorded 72 and 68 percent of delays respectively, followed by Eindhoven (67), London Luton (66), Lisbon and Budapest (both 65), Paris Charles de Gaulle (62), Amsterdam (61), and Nice (60).

Swiss airports, on the other hand, are not doing too badly in comparison.

At Zurich, 46 percent of flights are behind schedule, and 40.5 percent at Geneva.  

READ MORE: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

UK workers snub Switzerland

Once a prime destination for British professionals, Switzerland has lost its popularity among UK residents, with more Britons now leaving Switzerland than arriving here.

According to industry experts as well as the British Embassy in Bern, among the reasons for this trend reversal is the complexity of Brexit-related paperwork that has to be filled out to obtain the right to work in Switzerland, along with the fact that the UK now has a shortage of qualified professionals, so more high-level jobs are available there.

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: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Health insurance premiums to rise, authorities could ban electric heaters, recession worries ease and more news from Switzerland on Monday.

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

Unemployment remains at 2 percent in Switzerland

In Switzerland, unemployment remains at a very low level, Watson news site reported. At 2 percent, the unemployment rate is as low as over twenty years ago.

At the end of July, 91,474 people were registered as unemployed at the Regional Employment Centers (RAV). This is 1,037 less than in June and 36,805 less than a year ago, as the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) announced Monday.

Last month, fewer people in Switzerland were looking for a job. According to Seco, the number of job seekers continued to decline by 5,629 compared to June to 163,315. A year ago, almost 220,000 job seekers were registered with the RAV.

READ ALSO: When is best to look for a job in Switzerland?

Health insurance premiums to rise in 2023

Health insurance premiums are set to rise by almost 10 percent in some cantons, with the highest increases in Ticino, Neuchâtel, and Graubünden, the new site NZZ writes.

According to an Accenture study, the prices need to “catch up” to higher costs in the health care system. But the corona pandemic and various special effects would also have contributed to the current situation.

READ ALSO: How is the Swiss healthcare system different from the rest of Europe?

Authorities threaten to ban electric heaters

The Federal Office for Economic State Supply (BWL) fears that there may be a lack of electricity in an already tight power supply due to many additional mobile electric heaters over the winter, Tagesanzeiger reports. “In this context, the use of electrical appliances could be restricted or prohibited,” says business administration spokeswoman Evelyne Kobelt.

The basis for the ban or a restriction would be the State Supply Act, which provides for such restrictive measures in the event of a severe power shortage.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why you should hold off on buying electric heaters in Switzerland

No recession for Switzerland, forecasters say

Switzerland does not expect to dip into recession this year despite the threat of an energy supply squeeze, the government’s chief economist said Sunday.

The Swiss economy is “doing well” despite the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy prices, Eric Scheidegger told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

He said it was down to companies to steel themselves for the possibility of power shortages in the winter months.

“We may have to revise our economic forecast downwards for next year. The revised forecast will be published on September 20. However, we do not expect a recession for this year,” Scheidegger said.

“We run the risk of an energy supply bottleneck in winter. If there are persistent production interruptions in the EU and we ourselves have a gas shortage, it becomes problematic.

Sperm banks are preparing for increased demand

Sperm banks in Switzerland are getting ready for higher demand after same-sex marriage was approved in the country and artificial insemination is allowed for lesbian married couples.

Since July, with the entry into force of marriage for all, female couples have had access to artificial insemination. And already, Swiss sperm banks have waiting lists, reports the SonntagsZeitung.

Among them is the “OVA IVF Clinic” in Zurich, which can’t offer new appointments for the first consultations until next December. However, its director, Peter Fehr, believes this influx should stabilise after the initial peak. His clinic should then help 30 to 50 lesbian couples become mothers each year.

READ ALSO: ‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland

Sunny and hot in Switzerland this Monday

The weather should be sunny and hot today in Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.

Temperatures will be between 16C and 29C in Geneva, 15C and 32C in Sion, 14C and 27C in Bern, 14C and 30C in Basel, 16C and 27C in Zurich, 17C and 27C in Chur, and 16C and 30C in Lugano.

READ ALSO: Body stress, drought and borders: How the heatwave affects Switzerland