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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Six big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week
Swiss border guards and French police at crossing between the two countries. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Tighter border controls and higher fees for foreign students are among the Swiss news The Local reported this week. You can catch up on everything in this weekly roundup.

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Swiss government to tighten country's borders

Due to the increased threat of terrorism during the European Football Championship in Germany and the Summer Olympics in France, Switzerland is ‘temporarily increasing’ controls at its borders.

Faced with threats of terrorism from the Islamic State group (ISIS), the Federal Council has decided to strengthen controls at Swiss borders from June 1st until the end of the Paralympic Games, on September 8th, 2024.

This means that even if you enter Switzerland from the Schengen zone, you may still be asked to show your passport and be quizzed about the purpose of your visit.

READ ALSO: Switzerland to strengthen border controls from June 1st

Swiss MPs rule to increase taxes on home-working cross-border employees

Both chambers of Switzerland’s parliament are supporting the move to impose higher taxes on cross-border employees who they work from their homes abroad.

Under the agreement Switzerland has with neighbour states, a part of their income is taxed in their home countries and not where their employer is based, that is, Switzerland.

As a result of this arrangement, cantonal coffers don’t get as much tax revenues as they would if these employees physically worked in Switzerland rather than in their home countries. 

READ ALSO: Cross-border workers who work from home may see Swiss taxes increase 

Foreign students at two Swiss universities may see their tuition fees triple

The National Council voted to triple the tuition for foreigners studying at Switzerland’s two polytechnic institutes, the ETH in Zurich and EPFL in Lausanne.
 
Until now, both institutes have been charging the same fee for all students — 730 francs per semester — regardless of their nationality.

This increase, however, is meant to compensate for lower federal contributions to the two institutes — from 2025, the government's financial aid will be reduced by 100 million francs.

And even with the hike, the two institutes still remain less expensive than comparably high-raking universities elsewhere.
 
READ ALSO: Foreign students at Switzerland's two big polytechnics could face higher tuition fees 

Flights between Switzerland and Milan among the shakiest in Europe

This is what a ranking compiled by Turbli, a site dedicated to tracking such events, indicates.

The platform has analysed around 150,000 international routes to chart the most turbulent journeys of 2023 (that is, before the tragic air turbulence episode that happened on a recent London to Singapore flight, claiming one life and injuring many others).

The analysis found that the flight from Milan Malpensa to Geneva is the shakiest in Europe (and 5th most turbulent in the world), and the Milan to Zurich route is in only slightly more enviable 10th place.

READ ALSO: Why two Swiss to Italy flight routes are 'the most turbulent' in Europe 

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Switzerland’s airline expands and extends its service to the USA

In March, Switzerland’s flag carrier inaugurated its direct service from Zurich to Washington DC as part of its summer timetable.

These flights will continue through winter 2024, the company said.

The airline will also increase the frequency of some its other US-bound flights.

Its services between Zurich and Los Angeles and San Francisco will each be increased to daily operations, while twice-daily service will be offered on the Zurich-Miami route.

READ ALSO: SWISS airline expands its US-bound flights and ups frequency 

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And also...

What is the 'vital minimum' in Switzerland?

You may have heard about 'minimum subsistence' but not know what this means, or how it is calculated.

This term is used to describe the amount that a person must have available to cover their basic needs — essentials necessary for survival, such as costs of food, housing, health insurance, utilities like water and heating, social contributions, public transport, childcare costs, and schooling.

However, as taxes are not included in the calculation, a parliamentary committee  has spearheaded the move to add the tax bills into the calculation formula.

READ ALSO: What you should know about 'minimum subsistence' in Switzerland 
 

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