Volltext: Liechtenstein and the German tax affair:

» BND 
» Political parties (SPD, CDU, CSU, FDP, Greens) 
Federal Minister of Finance Peer Steinbrück was certainly one of the most prominent 
political actors on the German side during the tax affair. He made his goals and concerns 
known with clear statements: "It must be openly addressed what I believe are the framework 
conditions there that invite Germans to evade taxes. One can say that politely but firmly. [...] 
In my view, we have yet to discuss at the European level how to deal with tax havens." (Dow 
Jones, 20.2.2008). "We want to combat all tax havens in Europe." (idem, FAZ, 27.2.2008, 
10). "This is not just about Liechtenstein. We are also talking about Switzerland, 
Luxembourg, and Austria." (idem, Handelsblatt, 26.2.2008, 6, and SZ, 26.2.2008, 7). 
Also Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke bluntly and very clearly represented the 
overall German interests in the cross-border tax question, but was somewhat more restrained 
in her choice of words that her ministerial colleagues: "I did not give Liechtenstein an 
ultimatum — I attach great importance to that — but I simply spoke politically about what 
would make sense. [...] I expect citizens to pay their taxes lawfully to their country [...] and I 
don't think it is good if Liechtenstein banks provide a certain incentive to break the law. [...] 
With regard to mutual legal assistance, I expect cooperation." (Dow Jones, 20.2.2008). This 
was taken up the following day by the Stuttgarter Zeitung: "We would not think it a good idea 
if the Liechtenstein credit sector provided a certain incentive to break the law." (21.2.2008, 6). 
"Ihe objective is to comply with tax law in a country, and there are no exculpating 
exceptions." (Handelsblatt, 25.2.2008, 5). 
Merkel and Steinbrück were supported in this regard by their Government colleagues, 
Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schàuble ("Tax havens don't fit with Europe", 
Handelsblatt, 29.2.2008, 6) and Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: "This 
capital is needed for investments, such as in social and education policy and for schooling." 
(Handelsblatt, 29.2.2008, 6) 
Conclusion: The main actor in the group of political actors, Federal Minister of Finance 
Peer Steinbrück, used unusually strong words, especially in light of 
international diplomacy, to draw attention to what in his view were 
unbearable abuses and to build up pressure on Liechtenstein via the media. 
Representatives of almost all parties also expressed their views, although some emphasized 
the (self-critical) internal German side of the tax affair, rather than the European side. Peter 
Ramsauer from the CSU said, for instance, "Money does not flow to tax havens because the 
landscape there is beautiful, but because the tax policy landscape in Germany is really ugly. 
So we have to do our homework." (FAZ, 20.2.2008, 1). 
And Michael Meister, Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, also on 
behalf of other party representatives, located the problem elsewhere: "We need more tax 
investigators and corporate auditors, and we need better coordination between the states and 
the Federal Government." (Handelsblatt, 19.2.2008, 2). He was supported in this regard by the 
head of the Green party, Reinhard Bütikofer: "First of all, we need better resources for tax 
investigators at the federal level and strengthening of the special prosecutors." (FTD, 
19.2.2008, 10). Max Stadler of the FDP said about the BND's approach: "The entire matter 


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