Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Too many people live in apartments that are too large for them, a story reveals. Photo by MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP

A sports equipment rental store in Swiss Alps doesn't rent to Jews; right-wingers to launch an anti-immigration vote; and more news in our roundup on Monday.


Davos mountain station does not rent sports equipment to Jews

A sign posted in Hebrew at the Pischa mountain station in Davos says it doesn't rent sports equipment such as ski or sleds to Jewish customers.

The reason given is “various annoying incidents,” when "Jewish guests would regularly leave sleds and other equipment on the slopes," rather than bring it back to the rental point.

"“The fact that such a letter is publicly hung on a Swiss mountain is shocking. The content is highly discriminatory and anti-Semitic,” according to Jonathan Kreutner, spokesperson for the Swiss Association of Israelite Communities.

Right-wing party gathers enough signatures to launch an anti-immigration vote

The populist Swiss People’s party (SVP) collected 110,000 signatures (10,000 more than required for a national vote) to bring its proposal, ‘No to Switzerland with 10 million people,’ to the ballot box.

The initiative calls for the Constitution to include a new amendment guaranteeing “sustainable demographic development” — that is, stipulating that Switzerland’s population must not exceed 10 million people before 2050.

The SVP wants to stem the continuing influx of foreigners into Switzerland, which has contributed to  increasing the country’s population to 9 million people in 2023.

READ ALSO: How immigration is impacting Switzerland 


Housing shortage is due to too-low rents, report reveals

There are several known causes for the chronic shortage of housing in Switzerland, but one of the main ones is…low rents.

How is this possible, when rents in major cities are going — no pun intended — through the roof?

According to a new study by the Raiffeisen bank, this situation is due, at least in part, to old rents remaining low while the new ones (that is, when new tenants move in), climbing.

For this reason, some people continue to stay in dwellings that are too large for them, but the prospect of paying higher rents keeps them from moving.

Raiffeisen found that, for this very reason,170,000 housing units of 100 square metres that could be ‘released,’ to new tenants, aren’t.

According to the study, in Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Bern and Zurich, tenants of a 4-room apartment of 100 square meters rented for 20 years pay on average 1,900 francs per month while an identical property is advertised at almost 2,300 francs today.

Although this is “purely a theoretical speculation,” the bank said, it nevertheless illustrates the potential that these currently over-occupied apartments represent in combating the housing shortage.


MPs want Swiss – EU talks to resume, but under certain conditions

After meeting members of the European Parliament in Bern, a large majority of Swiss MPs, as well as other concerned groups, are in favour of resumption of talks between Switzerland and the EU.

One condition, however, is that independence of Switzerland remains intact.

Specifically, they pointed out that the obligation to adopt European law and the country’s subordination to EU jurisdiction violated Switzerland's sovereignty.

Furthermore, still-outstanding issues relating to immigration and to wage protection, among others, remain unresolved.Bern and Brussels are hoping to re-start the official negotiations in the spring, though no exact date has been set.

READ ALSO: Will Switzerland and the EU finally reach a new deal in 2024?

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