• Germany's news in English

Swiss defence minister ditches Mercedes over Steinbrück

The Local · 23 Mar 2009, 16:29

Published: 23 Mar 2009 16:29 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Following Switzerland’s tentative moves toward transparency in the banking sector under international pressure to combat tax evasion last week, Steinbrück described the Swiss as “intimidated,” comparing them to American Indians quaking at the thought of the oncoming cavalry.

The Swiss were outraged by Steinbrück’s comments, with one tabloid calling him "one of the most hated men in Switzerland" and another politician compared him to the Nazis.

The wave of indignation sparked Defence Minister Ueli Maurer from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party to exchange his black Mercedes limo for a French Renault Espace in a "small personal protest," Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung reported on Sunday.

Meanwhile Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, in an apparent effort to smooth over the row, told Swiss weekly Sonntags-Blick that Steinbrück “is not representative of his country as a whole. There are German ministers who have close connections to Switzerland.”

However, when asked whether he would contact the German finance minister he was cooler. “If Germany wants something from us … then I expect them to get in touch,” he said, adding that he was ready to meet Steinbrück: “If he wants to meet me then I am prepared to do that, but I’ve not received a call yet.”

Story continues below…

Meanwhile Steinbrück’s comments also raised the ire of Native Americans. Don Watahomigie, chief of the Havasupai Indians in Arizona, told SonntagsZeitung that “the German politician clearly has no idea what he’s talking about,” adding that Havasupai don’t evade taxes or aid in tax evasion.

“What the German says is a slap in the face for Native Americans,” he added.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd