A row over secret European bank accounts which threatened the upcoming G20 economic summit has been resolved.
The United States and Germany had demanded traditional tax havens open their books or be put on a banking blacklist. Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg have now done enough to ward off that threat, and deny that secret accounts sparked the global recession. Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s Finance Minister said: “Imagine for a moment that Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg did not have banking secrecy six months or a year ago. Do you really think that the financial crisis would be any less serious? There is no link between banking secrecy and the economic crisis.” The affair has ruffled diplomatic feathers. Germany has repeatedly called for a crackdown on tax havens, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck caused outrage by comparing Swiss bankers to Indians fleeing from the cavalry. Luxembourg hit back, demanding Berlin moderates its language when discussing how to fight tax evasion. Steinbrueck said the row was absurd, and said he stood by his comments.