GlobalPost, April 5, 2012
BERLIN, Germany — An ugly spat has broken out that could scupper a tax agreement between Switzerland and Germany.
Germany’s center-left opposition is in uproar over the news that the Swiss authorities have issued arrest warrants for three German tax officials, on suspicion of economic espionage.
The revelation couldn’t have been more poorly timed, coming just as Germany and Switzerland are trying to push through an agreement on tackling tax evasion.
The German opposition — the Social Democrats and Greens — had already been critical of a deal it saw as too soft on tax dodgers and Swiss banking secrecy. Now the parties are threatening to block ratification of the agreement. Continue reading
Having succeeded in its referendum campaign against minarets in Switzerland, the populist SVP is now focusing on a different threat — this time from the north. The party is targeting Germans ahead of a local election in Zurich. Worringly it seems that its German-bashing is becoming respectable.
The far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is not content to wrest on its laurels after its spectacularly successful campaign against minarets. Now the populist party has a new enemy in its sights: Germans.
Ahead of local elections in March, the party has been waging a campaign against the many Germans who have settled in the German-speaking city of Zurich. And the SVP has chosen to hone in on what it claims is a hogging of academic jobs in Switzerland by German professors. While the attacks on what it calls “German sleaze” in the Swiss ivory towers fits into the party’s populist rhetoric, the tendency towards German bashing — like the rejection of the minarets — looks like it may be going mainstream. Continue reading