5 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in June 2022
As May 2022 draws to a close, expats across the country should expect some major events in Switzerland over the next 30 days. From the return of parliament and the rising cost of living, to alcohol votes and pride month, here are five things expats need to know about in June 2022.
1. Swiss parliament reconvenes amid cost of living crisis
From May 30 to June 18, both houses of parliament in Switzerland will reconvene to discuss and act on the major issues gripping the country. High on the agenda remains how to help people with the cost of living crisis in Switzerland, continuing sanctions on Russia and how to keep energy suppliers solvent amid a fuel price hike.
In recent weeks, the price of food, energy and other goods has continued to rise in Switzerland and across the world. The session in June will be the first opportunity to see the Federal Council’s new bailout plan for energy companies and its response to union calls for a significant increase in salaries for workers in Switzerland.
Other parliamentarians will be putting forward legislation on other measures designed to ease the financial burden on residents. Chief among them is a plan to implement a nine-euro style monthly ticket for public transport, although the Swiss media do not expect the idea to pass.
2. Migros to vote on allowing the sale of alcohol
In what is perhaps one of the most Swiss votes in history, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country is having a referendum on whether it should start selling alcohol. Migros has a long history of not selling alcoholic drinks, a policy that is part of the “responsible philosophy” created in 1928 by founder Gottlieb Duttweiler.
Despite selling alcohol in Migros owned chains like Denner and Migrolino, the international company has resisted calls to allow the sale of alcohol in its main branded stores. Now, the company is asking its 2,3 million members to vote on allowing the practice for the first time.
For the motion to pass, two-thirds of cooperative members must be in favour. With the polls closing on June 4, Migros has confirmed that the public will know the result by mid-June.
3. The Swiss fighter jet saga continues
This month will also see the submission of the so-called “Anti-fighter jet” initiative. In 2020, Swiss citizens narrowly approved a referendum that allowed the government to purchase new fighter jets to replace its ageing airforce, supposedly ending a long saga over the purchase of warplanes that began in the mid-2010s.
In recent weeks, the Federal Council confirmed its intention to replace 55 fighter planes with 36 brand new F-35A jets from America. The plan is part of a renewed rearmament effort in Switzerland in the wake of the war in Ukraine, with the country increasing its military budget by 6,285 billion Swiss francs.
However, the plan is not without its critics, with the former opponents of the referendum in 2020 coming back to oppose the “choice of aircraft” - seen by many in the media as a technicality used to try and justify a new referendum to get rid of the plan altogether. Activists recently secured over 100.000 signatures and are expected to submit their referendum request in June.
4. Start of pride month in Switzerland
June 1 is the start of pride month in Switzerland and around the world. The month is dedicated to the recognition, visibility and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. This pride month, with all federal COVID rules scrapped, events and concerts are planned across Swiss cities for the entire 30 days.
The largest pride event is due to take place in Zurich with the Zurich Pride Festival 2022. The event on June 17 and 18 will include a large demonstration to protest the legal status of and the challenges faced by trans people, followed by speeches and musical entertainment.
5. Start of summer and the school holidays in Switzerland
While it may feel like summer has already arrived in Switzerland, especially with the scorching hot weather this May, the official summer months only start on June 1. In recent weeks, meteorologists have predicted that this summer will be the hottest on record, with temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius on a regular basis.
For those in the Swiss school system in a few cantons, or people who attend international schools, June will also bring the start of the school summer holidays. The long break is a great opportunity for families and kids to travel abroad or take a trip to one of Switzerland's beautiful historical sites, castles, lakes or mountains. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you have a great time!