Herausgeber:
Sonstige universitäre Einrichtungen
Erscheinungsjahr:
2008
PURL:
https://www.eliechtensteinensia.li/viewer/object/000347300/75/
press conference of the Federal Chancellor and the Prime Minister of 20 February and the 
subsequent media reporting. With the comment by Merkel that "we will not get harmonization 
of tax law" (SZ, 20.2.2008, 1), the issue of tax law at the European level is brought into the 
media for the first time and is subsequently discussed more intensively. 
After his talks with Prime Minister Hasler, Federal Minister of Finance Peer Steinbrück 
adopts a similar tone: "In my view, we will ultimately have to discuss at the European level 
the question of how to deal with tax havens." (Dow Jones, 20.2.2008). The issue of bilateral 
relations and how to deal with each other in the main case were discussed directly in public 
for the first time after these talks, contributing — at least at the highest political level — to a 
more matter-of-fact tone in the tax debate and to an elevation of the discussion to the 
European level, as was certainly also Liechtenstein's intention. "I did not give Liechtenstein 
an ultimatum — I attach great importance to that — but I simply spoke politically about what 
would make sense." And: "With respect to mutual legal assistance, I expect cooperation. '* 
(Federal Chancellor Merkel, Dow Jones, 20.2.2008). The EU Anti-Fraud Agreement, which 
precisely concerned the cooperation demanded by Merkel and Steinbrück, was also included 
in the media's list of issues after these working talks, remaining there in light of the ongoing 
negotiations, the content of which was concluded on 27 June 2008. The desire expressed in 
public by Angela Merkel on 21 February, "We wish and expect that these negotiations will 
also be conducted rapidly and that we reach a conclusion here as well." (Handelsblatt, 
21.2.2008, 3), was thus fulfilled even more quickly than expected. It was also Federal 
Chancellor Merkel who brought up the comparison of Europe with the United States with 
respect to mutual legal assistance in tax matters: "What is possible in the US should also be 
possible in Europe.” (Die Welt, 21.2.2008, 1) 
In an interview a few days later, Federal Minister of the Interior Schäuble refers directly to 
the working talks with Prime Minister Hasler on 19 February: "In principle, the Federal 
Government is willing to ratify the Schengen protocol by the end of the year as planned. [...] 
But of course Liechtenstein will have to fulfill the promises made by the Liechtenstein Prime 
Minister." (Handelsblatt, 29.2.2008, 6). Liechtenstein's ambassador to the EU in Brussels, 
Prince Nikolaus von und zu Liechtenstein, had announced in the media a few days before: 
"We assume that the Schengen agreement will be ratified as planned." (FTD, 21.2.2008, 10). 
Additionally, numerous interviews and background talks took place between Liechtensteiners 
(representatives of the Government, Parliament, the Bankers Association, the Chief Public 
Prosecutor, private persons asked on the street) and representatives of the German media that 
were reflected in the media. These interactive processes at least entailed that the Liechtenstein 
positions were reflected in the media and that detailed reports on the Principality of 
Liechtenstein — which was largely unknown beyond its financial center — were published (e.g. 
FAS, 24.2, 14 "The countersigner" and 38 "My Liechtenstein"). For other reports, see 
Chapter 6.6.1. 
  
! This refers to the granting of mutual legal assistance in cases of pure tax evasion (note by the author). 
? This refers to the granting of mutual legal assistance in tax matters, which Liechtenstein agreed in a Mutual 
Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States in 2003. However, the tax situation governed by the Internal 
Revenue Service (IRS) at the federal level in the United States is not comparable to the situation in Europe, 
where the 27 member States of the EU have completely different tax systems (note by the author). 
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