Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 24 Jan, 2023 Updated Tue 24 Jan 2023 02:29 CEST
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Finding an affordable apartment in Zurich is extremely difficult. Image by Julian Hacker from Pixabay

Why rents are so high in Zurich; shortage of housing in Switzerland could spark tensions; and other news in our roundup on Tuesday.

Rents in Zurich continue to rise due to record-high immigration
 
Zurich is an extremely attractive area for immigrants, as it offers many job opportunities and high salaries.
 
However, the canton is running out of rental apartments, and this low supply is driving up prices.
 
Net immigration in the canton was higher in the first eleven months of 2022 than at any time since 2011. And according to a forecast by the Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), more people are likely to move to the Zurich area this year as well — only to find shortage of dwellings.
 
"Because the brakes were put on in the construction sector, the canton is not prepared for the increase in the resident population," said Ursina Kubli, head of ZKB's real estate research. 
 
READ MORE: Renting in Switzerland: How to find a flat in Zurich

And while we are on this subject…
 
Economy Minister warns of ‘socio-political tensions’ if shortage of housing persists
 
Vacant housing is scarce in Switzerland, while the demand is growing steadily, especially as more immigrants are arriving, according to Economy Minister Guy Parmelin.
 
And whatever properties are available for rent are usually expensive, especially in and near large cities.
 
 However, if the situation doesn’t improve soon, consequences could be dire, he warned.
 
“Insufficient housing supply can limit economic development, and socio-political tensions could arise if rents increase and people on low incomes can no longer find affordable housing,” Parmelin said on Monday. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How immigration is impacting Switzerland 

Why Switzerland needs Europe

Although some anti-EU Swiss politicians have called for Switzerland's power infrastructure to cut itself off from foreign sources, it turns out that the country's grid is not self-sufficient enough to function separately.
 
As the Federal Council already said, the country will not experience power shortages this winter as originally feared, but this can only happen as long as long as Switzerland is connected to the European system — as it now is.
 
According to the Swissgrid simulation, in case of shortages, power plants would automatically activate across Europe. The energy will flow to Switzerland through 41 border lines.

Friends in high places: Geneva politician pulled strings to help a friend be naturalised
 
Former State Councillor Pierre Maudet reportedly helped a friend, a Lebanese banker, to obtain Swiss citizenship, even though the latter did not meet Geneva’s residency requirements.
 
The politician acted in “expedited manner and ignoring the objections of his colleagues,” Swiss media reported on Monday. 

Maudet is no stranger to controversy and acting outside the law: last year, he was sentenced for accepting favours and deposed of his position on the State Council.
 
As for the banker, it is not yet clear whether he will be allowed to keep his ill-begotten Swiss passport.
 
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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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2023/01/24 02:29

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