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German and Swiss presidents bury differences

Swiss President Doris Leuthard and her German counterpart Christian Wulff. Keystone

German President Christian Wulff has alluded to the tax dispute with Switzerland, saying differences between neighbours are normal.

This content was published on September 8, 2010 - 16:55

At a news conference in Bern on Wednesday, Wulff and Swiss President Doris Leuthard both praised the friendship which unites the two countries.
The sensitive issue of alleged tax evasion by German nationals was not discussed explicitly.

Wulff arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday for a two-day state visit, his first official trip abroad since being elected at the end of June.On Wednesday,

"It is normal there are differences of opinions and of interests, even between the best neighbours", Wulff said.

Germany has been one of the most fervent critics of Switzerland's banking secrecy laws.

Earlier this year German authorities bought stolen CDs containing data on thousands of Germans with bank accounts in Switzerland.

Switzerland insists that it will not grant administrative assistance in cases of bank data bought from a third party.

However, while Switzerland has undertaken not to accept any more untaxed money, it is not clear how the issue of unpaid taxes will be dealt with.

Germany wants to go back as far as possible to maximise the amount it receives, but Switzerland would like to set a limit of a few years.

Wulff’s visit is the first trip to Switzerland by a German head of state in ten years.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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