Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 3 Oct, 2022 Updated Mon 3 Oct 2022 08:57 CEST
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MPs are not happy with cheaper meat. Photo by Changyoung Koh on Unsplash

Indoor heating in Switzerland may lead to legal problems, Geneva considers right to vote for foreigners and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

Less heating in dwellings may cause a legal problem

While the government has recommended that temperature in rented apartments be lowered to 19C to save energy, this measure may not be feasible from a legal standpoint.

In a letter addressed to the Federal Council, the Swiss Association for the Real Estate Economy pointed out that many tenants will file a complaint if their accommodation is too cold, in which case they will be entitled to reduction in rent.

As for the Swiss Tenants Association (ASLOCA), it said that the temperature of 19C is “not acceptable”, especially for the elderly, vulnerable and sick.

READ MORE: Why you may be entitled to a rent reduction in Switzerland – and how to get it

Geneva could grant its foreigners the right to vote

Geneva’s voters will go to the polls to decide whether foreign residents can vote on the cantonal level. The canton has the highest proportion of foreigners in the country — about 40 percent.

The Council of State has accepted the initiative spearheaded by trade unions and various associations to grant the right to vote and stand as a candidate for foreigners who have resided in Geneva for at least eight years. The date of the referendum has not yet been set.

However, unlike some other cantons which allow only C-permit holders to vote, Geneva’s initiative calls for any foreigner — whether a permanent resident or asylum seeker — to have this right, as long as the eight-year residency requirement is met.

Thomas Vanek, who represents the left alliance in the Geneva parliament, said such an all-inclusive approach is important because “most of the debates are done at the cantonal level. And when you have 40 percent of the people residing in the canton who are excluded from political debate, that's a problem”.

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can foreigners vote?

Switzerland could avoid recession

There is some positive news for Switzerland on the economy front.

While recession will likely impact neighbour countries this winter, Switzerland is expected to be spared, experts say.

The reason is that Switzerland is “better equipped” to withstand the economic crisis.

“We believe that we can avoid a severe recession,” said Eric Scheidegger, chief economist and deputy director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Some MPs want to ban advertising for cheap meat

A number of Swiss supermarkets are selling meat at reduced prices, but while consumers might be happy about this development, farmers and elected officials are not. 

"These exorbitant discounts send the wrong signal. It is not fair to sell a high-value food like meat for a low price”, according to MP Markus Ritter, who is also  president of the Swiss Farmers' Union.

Another deputy, Kilian Baumann, argues that  “the dumping of meat prices, often foreign, is to the detriment of local farmers”.

He has asked the Federal Council to intervene and is also urging retailers to refrain from such practices.

The Federal Council will examine the complaints and present various options in a report.


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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/10/03 08:57

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