Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Switzerland's president visits Ukraine, shortage of properties despite high prices, and other news in our roundup on Friday.
Swiss president makes surprise visit to Ukraine
Arriving in Kyiv on Thursday, Ignazio Cassis met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and senior members of his Cabinet.
Cassis said he dropped in on his counterpart to show “his solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.
Discussions mainly focused on the current war situation, Ukraine’s humanitarian needs, and preparatory work for the country's reconstruction and development plan, the Federal Council said in a statement.
Switzerland earmarks funds to 'promote integration' of foreigners
The money, approximately 130 million francs for the period from 2024 to 2027 (that is, 32 million per year), will enable the cantons “to finance measures intended for migrants from EU or EFTA countries, as well as those from third countries”, the Federal Council announced on Thursday.
These funds are «intended to promote the potential offered by the [foreign] workforce present in Switzerland".
This sum doesn’t include the contributions the federal government will make during this period in favour of Ukrainian refugees who are beneficiaries of protection status S.
No 'selective prioritisation’ at SBB
Recent research by German media shows that the country’s trains run faster and are cleaner when prominent people are among the passengers.
Swiss news portal, Watson, investigated the situation on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and found that Switzerland’s trains are more egalitarian; they offer no preferential treatment and as a rule don’t even know when VIPs are on board regular trains.
"For SBB, safety, reliability and punctuality are always in the foreground, regardless of who is traveling with us”, the company said. “In Switzerland everyone is equal”.
Swiss properties in demand despite higher prices
Apartments in Switzerland now cost 6.6 percent more than they did last year, and the price of single-family homes went up by 7.2 percent in the same period.
Add to it higher mortgage rates since the Swiss National Bank raised the key interest rate at the end of September, and the picture is clear: housing in Switzerland has become even more expensive than before.
Yet, the demand for luxury properties has not waned and is exceeding supply, according to Robert Weinert, head of real estate monitoring at Wüest Partner agency.
"We are talking about well-heeled buyers who would like to purchase, for instance, a villa with a view of the lake and the mountains in a low-tax community".
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]