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Parliament approves multi-billion Swiss Covid aid package

Three Senators in discussion
Heated debated and compromises marked the discussions in parliament about amendments to the Covd law. Keystone/Peter Schneider

Companies and individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic will be able to benefit from additional financial support of about CHF12 billion ($13 billion).

On Thursday, both the House of Representatives and the Senate signed off on funds for emergency aid, compensation for short-time work and unemployment schemes.

This is CHF2 billion more than the government had proposed. Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said the latest decisions would cause annual deficit of at least CHF30 billion this year.

Over the past nearly three weeks, parliamentarians haggled over special conditions for potential beneficiaries of government aid, including event organisers and sports clubs as well as one person companies and low-income earners.

A special clause was added to the Covid law, allowing the government to invest in the production of medical goods, notably vaccines.

Only a minority of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party in the House voted against the compromise solutions. The Senate approved them unanimously.

The amended Covid legislation and the government’s policy were among the main issues of the current spring session which is due to end on Friday.

The law will be put to a nationwide vote in June after campaigners collected enough signatures to force a referendum.

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