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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 7 Mar, 2023 Updated Tue 7 Mar 2023 07:41 CEST
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Get ready for heavy rains later in the week. Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Despite forecasts, the inflation rate has not dropped in Switzerland; employers still have problems recruiting skilled professionals; and other news in our Tuesday roundup.


Inflation, prices remained high in February
Even though Swiss economists expected the inflation rate to go down this year, declining to below 2 percent, so far this has not happened. 

In fact, according to new data released on Monday by the Federal Statistics Office, the consumer price index increased by 0.7 percent in February compared to previous month, bringing the overall inflation rate to 3.4 percent.

On the other hand, Swiss inflation is still far below the EU average — 8.6 percent in February. 
READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland's inflation rate has stayed low compared to elsewhere


Job vacancies that are most difficult to fill

The shortage of skilled workforce continues to impact the country’s labour market.

The situation is particularly serious within certain sectors and geographical areas, according to a new survey from the Swiss Employers' Association.

Among jobs that companies have difficulties filling are “architecture and planning,” along with the construction sector. Specialists in “environmental techniques,” “water supply," as well as IT are also in high demand.

While finding qualified employees is relatively easy in French-speaking Switzerland, and more particularly in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, in central and eastern Switzerland it takes much longer, the survey found.

READ MORE: Jobs in Switzerland: Five in-demand sectors in 2023

Bern too poor for unconditional income

The Bern municipal council would like to carry out a pilot test for the unconditional basic income (UBI) distributed to 300 residents, but it turns out the city can’t afford the cost —up to 9 million francs — of this undertaking.

For the municipal council, this project is "currently unacceptable in view of the city's finances."

In 2016, 77 percent of Swiss voters rejected an initiative for the nationwide UBI.

In Bern, however, the percentage of ‘yes’ votes was high at 40 percent, so city officials were convinced basic income could be a viable option and "fundamentally make a significant contribution to more equal opportunities and quality of life."
Germans send their dead to Switzerland

A strange phenomenon is happening between Germany and Switzerland: an increasing number of Germans are commissioning the burial of their deceased relatives across the border.

That is because German law only allows burials in cemeteries; burying ashes anywhere else, like under a tree or in the field, is banned.

This is why Germans send urns with the relatives’ ashes by post to Swiss undertakers, while the bereaved travel to Switzerland to bury the remains in a place of their choosing — a practice that is legal in Switzerland.

"The state doesn't care what happens to the ashes," Aargau undertaker Berto Biaggi told SRF broadcaster.


Weather: Heavy rain expected this week

After a long rainless spell, between 40 and 70 millimetres of precipitation is expected in Switzerland by the end of the week, according to the MeteoNews forecast. 

The rain will be accompanied by strong gusts of wind, between 50 and 80 km/h in the plain, though the temperatures will remain mild for the season — between 10 and 15C.

While rain may not be everyone’s idea of springlike weather, it is needed to “give some respite to springs and groundwater, as well as the glaciers,” said MeteoNews meteorologist Vincent Devantay.

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