Five big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Five big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week
Foreign trains, even tardy German ones, could 'take over' Switzerland's tracks. Photo by Daniel Abadia on Unsplash

Swiss trains at risk of having to make more room for foreign competitors, and foreigners targeted by fake emails threatening to revoke their permits, are among the Swiss news The Local reported this week. You can catch up on everything in this weekly roundup.


Switzerland’s trains could lose ground to foreign competitors

Bern and Brussels are negotiating various bilateral treaties during the current round of talks. 

One of the topics under discussion is Europe’s inter-connected rail network — which sounds like an overall positive development for seamless cross-border travel.

However, Vincent Ducrot, head of national rail company SBB fears that such a deal would be detrimental to Swiss commuters.

It would mean that international trains — including the frequently tardy ones from Germany — would have priority over Switzerland’s system on its own turf.

READ ALSO: Why a Swiss-EU deal could be bad news for train users in Switzerland

Switzerland’s social insurance system fails some people

Though Swiss social insurance system is pretty comprehensive in providing a variety of benefits, and works well overall, there are certain gaps in the scheme, causing some people to fall through the cracks.

This mainly concerns those who are ill and are unable to work — or earn money — for  long periods of time.

The inability of their employer and the insurance scheme to provide timely financial compensation are "perhaps the biggest failures of the social security system," critics say, because they leaves these people without any income.

READ ALSO: The pitfalls of Switzerland's social security system you need to avoid
Swiss to vote on ways to curb health insurance premiums

On June 9th, the Swiss will cast their votes on two controversial issues aiming, though in different ways, to curb the continually increasing cost of the obligatory health insurance (KVG / LaMal).

One seeks to cap the insurance rates at 10 percent of income, while the other calls  for a ‘brake’ on health costs, which should evolve according to the economy and wages.

The Federal Council and parliament are urging voters to reject both proposals, and to accept their own, more moderate, counter-proposals.

READ ALSO : How Switzerland's two crucial health insurance referendums could impact you 


Zurich trams to be equipped with airbags

Due to several fatal accidents that occurred in March, when pedestrians or cyclists were hit by trams, authorities in Switzerland’s largest city are looking for ways to make tramway tracks more secure.

To that end, the Zurich Transport Authority (VBZ) and tram manufacturer Alstom are currently testing airbags that inflate when a tram hits a pedestrian.

This mechanism would be triggered by a sensor on the front of the driver's cab, and is intended to reduce the impact and consequences of a collision between the trams and pedestrians or cyclists.

READ ALSO : Why does Zurich need airbags on the front of its trams? 

'Your permit is invalid’ letters are fake, government says.

A number of foreign residents in Switzerland have received an email recently, purportedly from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM),  telling them that their residency rights in Switzerland have been revoked.

The immigration authority denied sending these messages, and warned recipients not to click on the QR code that is attached.

"Fake letters from the SEM have been circulating since the beginning of this week,” SEM said .  

“The letter has no impact on the recipient’s residence status,” it added.

READ ALSO: How scammers in Switzerland target foreigners 


And also:

New month, new events

May is only days away and it will bring with it some new rules, public holidays, and other events.

This article informs you of what lies ahead.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2024 



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