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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 25 May, 2023 Updated Thu 25 May 2023 08:10 CEST
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Sorry, Emmentaler, you are not Swiss. Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP

Prices of some foods soar in Switzerland; army mulls recruiting women; and other news in our roundup on Thursday.


US Rock legend Tina Turner died in Switzerland 

Tina Turner, who gave up her US citizenship 10 years ago to become Swiss, passed away on Wednesday in her estate near Zurich. 

READ ALSO: How American rock legend Tina Turner became a 'model Swiss citizen'

Swiss food prices sharply up

Compared to the rest of Europe, Switzerland has a low inflation rate. Nevertheless, food prices are soaring here — sometimes by up to 50 percent.

Groceries have become significantly more expensive in the past 12 months, according to Dirk Renkert, financial expert at Comparis consumer platform.

For instance, butter costs 12.3 percent more than a year ago, sugar has increased by 14.1 percent, while milk, cheese, and eggs now cost 8.9 percent more.

Prices of some foods increased even more significantly.

NZZ newspaper analysed prices at Coop this month and found that the biggest price hike compared to the previous year was the tomato paste 'Passata di pomodoro' from the cheap brand Coop Prix Garantie —  up 64 percent. The prices for chopped tomatoes, mayonnaise, yeast, and red onions have also risen by more than 50 percent within a year.

Swiss army wants to recruit women

It is not only Switzerland’s labour market that suffers from lack of personnel — the country’s military does too: at the end of the decade it will be short of about 30,000 soldiers.

One of the solutions being discussed to counteract the shortage is extending the obligation to serve to women, who now can join voluntarily but are not subject to recruitment.

Concrete plans should be available by 2024.

In the meantime, Defence Minister Viola Amherd, wants to impose on women a day of compulsory military orientation, just like for men.

Shortages also exist in another service sector: the civil protection, which some cantons want to open to foreigners.

READ ALSO: Swiss cantons mull civilian protection service for foreigners


Switzerland to ban tobacco advertisement
The Federal Council decided to ban advertising for tobacco products and electronic cigarettes in places to which young people have access, including in print and online media.

“Online advertising will remain permitted, provided that an age control system guarantees that minors cannot consult the pages that contain it,” the government announced on Wednesday. “Such an age control system will also be implemented for the sale of products online or by means of vending machines.”

In addition, “sponsorship of events to which minors have access will no longer be possible.”

The ban will enter into effect in 2026.


Another setback for Swiss cheese
After a US court decided in March that Gruyère is not a protected term, the Swiss cheese industry suffered another setback: Emmental doesn't have to come from Switzerland either.

The Emmental, which is characterised by its holes, owes its name to the region of the same name — the Emmental Valley — in the Bernese Mittelland.

However, many other ‘holey’ cheeses produced abroad also carry this name, which prompted the regional association, Emmentaler Switzerland, to file a complaint with the EU.

To no avail: Brussels has refused to register Emmental as a type of cheese geographically linked to it geographical origin, ruling that Emmental is a technique for making cheese and not a cheese produced in a namesake region.

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