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

MPs debate drop in purchasing power, Swiss economic forecast is deteriorating, and other news in our roundup on Wednesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Geneva is home to the largest number of wealthy individuals in Switzerland. Photo by Philipp Potocnik on Unsplash

MPs to debate decline in purchasing power

Starting today, the National Council deputies will focus on ways to increase the purchasing power of Swiss consumers, which has dropped in the past few months.

All parties are expected to put forth their proposals on how to adopt the costs of old-age pensions and healthcare to inflation.

The latter is an urgent issue in Switzerland, as the cost of health system has risen significantly in recent years, with further spikes, including in insurance premiums, seen as inevitable.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Switzerland wants to cut soaring healthcare costs

Government predicts economic slowdown

Even though Switzerland’s economy has remained robust despite the inflation, it is expected to slow down amid  the European and global crisis, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).  

While “favourable employment data should continue to prop up consumer spending, given that inflation in Switzerland remains modest by international standards, the challenging international environment is likely to exert increasing pressure on export-oriented industries”, SECO said in a press release.

For this reason, Swiss economic growth is expected to lose itsmomentum, SECO said, with the “general state of the Swiss economy dependng largely on how the situation evolves in the global economy and in regard to energy supplies”.

Swiss cities a magnet for super wealthy

Geneva and Zurich are among 20 world cities where the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires currently reside.

According to new data from Henley & Partners, Geneva, which ranks ninth, is home to over 90,700 millionaires and 16 billionaires. In Zurich, which ranks in the 13th place, there are 105,100 millionaires and 12 billionaires.

While not yet on the list, Lugano is emerging among “the fastest growing cities for millionaires”, the survey shows.

READ MORE: This is how many millionaires live in Switzerland

Switzerland is a third-world country, according to Donald Trump

After watching footage of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, the former US president posted on social media that the current president, Joe Biden and his wife Jill, were not seated in prime spots at the Westminster Abbey, but were placed next to “leaders of third-world countries”.

The photo taken at the ceremony shows the Bidens sitting next to…Swiss President Ignazio Cassis.

“If I were president, they wouldn’t have sat me back there”, Trump, who was not invited to attend the funeral, bragged.

So far, Switzerland has not responded to Trump’s post, preferring to remain neutral instead.

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

The financing of the pension scheme is safe, no 'free' money will be distributed in Zurich, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

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

Swiss voters back pension scheme reform

A narrow majority of voters – 50.57 percent — approved on Sunday the government’s proposed amendment to the existing old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV / AVS), including increasing the retirement age for women from the current 64 to 65, same as for men.

This move  is seen as necessary to keep the AHV / AVS scheme afloat financially as life expectancy in Switzerland is increasing and people require pension benefits longer than in the past.

And 55.1 percent accepted a related proposal to raise the current Value Added Tax of 7.7 percent by 0.4 percent to help finance the scheme.

READ MORE: What impact could Switzerland’s referendum on pensions have on you?

Zurich’s basic income experiment rejected

Also on Sunday, 53.9 percent of Zurich voters turned down a proposal by the political left to introduce a pilot project that would dole out between 2,500 and 3,000 francs a month to 500 city residents.

The issue, which previously failed in other cities, was thought to have a bigger chance of success in Zurich, which is believed to be more “left” than other Swiss municipalities.

However, only two of Zurich’s 12 districts voted in favour of the project on Sunday.

READ MORE: ‘3,000 francs a month?’: Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

Switzerland not prepared for nuclear attack

As fears over the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine is growing, Switzerland “is not sufficiently prepared,” for such an event, according to Urs Marti, president of the Conference of Cantonal Officials for Military Affairs and Civil Protection.

For instance, the radioactivity alarm equipment is old, and some nuclear shelters have not been properly upkept, Marti said.   

In response, the National Council’s Security Policy Commission is set to hold a special meeting to discuss ways to remedy the situation.

“We must take stock of the state of civil protection shelters,” said the Commission’s  president, Mauro Tuena.

READ MORE: Reader question: Where is my nearest nuclear shelter in Switzerland?

These Swiss cities are most dependent on imported gas

With the beginning of autumn and colder weather across Switzerland, the subject of Switzerland’s reliance on foreign energy is in the news again.

But the extent of this dependence varies from one municipality to another.

At 96 percent of imported energy, Geneva tops the chart, followed by Lugano (94 percent), Lucerne and Biel (91), Winterthur (87), Bern (83), Zurich (76), and Basel (75).

The reason big cities rely more on gas is that in densely populated areas, these energy source requires relatively little space in buildings.

REVEALED: Switzerland’s best cheese is…

 The Swiss Cheese Championships held in the Valais community of Val de Bagnes last week have come to an end.

Out of more than 1,000 cheese varieties vying for the coveted title, the international jury selected a Gruyère from the village of Montbovon in the canton of Fribourg.

The jury tasted each single cheese, basing its decision on criteria such as cheese’s appearance, taste, aroma, and texture

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]