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Prazeller, Markus

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Basler Zeitung - Switzerland | 22/09/2011

Swiss playing clever on banking secrecy

The Swiss parliament postponed a decision on the US demands for banking secrecy laws to be relaxed on Wednesday. This manoeuvring will only weaken the parliament's credibility ahead of the elections in October, complains the liberal-conservative paper Basler Zeitung: "Under pressure from the Americans, the Swiss are making more and more concessions. However the Swiss public is to be kept in the dark about this as far as possible - abolishing banking secrecy is not the best argument among the bourgeoisie if you want to be re-elected. The reaction to the decision taken yesterday by the upper chamber of the Swiss parliament, the Council of States, shows how opaque the government's strategy is. The decision not to allow itself to be put under pressure and to postpone the talks on the latest tax agreement would have a positive impact on the negotiations with the US, the Ministry of Finances claimed - when just a few hours before immediate approval was supposedly crucial for saving Switzerland's financial hub status. This tactic may work in the negotiations with the US but it is fatal for the parliament's credibility."

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