Tax-loving politicians in Europe and tax-harmonizing bureaucrats at the European Commission in Brussels and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris are not smiling today. They have already received bad news from Austria and Luxembourg, and now Switzerland has announced that it has no intention of weakening its human rights laws regarding privacy simply because money is escaping high-tax nations. Here’s the report:
The Swiss finance minister has warned that anyone challenging the Swiss banking secrecy laws will break their teeth on them. Hans Rudolf Merz used an emergency debate in Switzerland’s Parliament on Wednesday to defend the country’s competitive position as a business location….
Merz claimed that Switzerland’s competitive position as an international business base of choice was at risk and called it vital that the position was not only held but if possible improved…. “The sovereignty of each state, however, — in particular with reference to its tax legislation — has to be respected,” Merz said. He mounted a strong defence of Switzerland’s right to provide a well-regulated financial system with “an internationally competitive tax burden….”
Merz added that Switzerland’s political and economic stability, modern financial infrastructure and highly qualified workforce also contributed to its attractiveness, but that the banking secrecy was not just crucial to the country’s international financial position but central to the country’s value system.