Oct 102009
 

GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vastly deep
HOTSPUR: Why, so can I, so can any man. But will they come when you do call for them?
(Henry IV, Act III)

The content of the “footnote” that President Klaus wants to introduce in the Lisbon Treaty has now become somewhat clearer. Apparently he wants an assurance that the Human Rights Charter would not be used as a basis for restoration claims from the Sudeten Germans whose property was confiscated when they were driven out of Czechoslovakia after the World War when the so called Benes Decrees were issued in 1946. It should be noted in this context that people -also foreigners- that were disowned by the communist regime have been very successful with restoration claims in Czechoslovakia.

This is extremely dangerous territory. The issue was, however, thoroughly discussed during the access negotiations with the Czech Republic (and with Slovenia which was in a similar situation.) At one period both Germany and Austria insisted that the Benes Decrees must be revoked before the Czech Republic could become a member.  The Czechs, under President Havel, protested vigorously. Finally the German government (Messrs Schröder and Fischer) accepted a compromise in Continue reading »

Feb 222008
 

The Grand Duchy of Liechtenstein makes the headlines again. Germany has successful used its intelligence services and paid money in order to get information on a celebrity tax evader in this tax haven between Austria and Switzerland. This has understandably provoked the anger of the Crown Prince Alois who talked about an “unprovoked German attack” on a “miniature state” and told them to clean up their own tax system which, in the royal opinion, is “even worse than Haiti’s.” Ms. Merkel, cool as always, replied that “It would not be good if Liechtenstein was found to be encouraging illegal activities.” In Sweden an influential ex-minister demands that Sweden should stop the accession of Liechtenstein to the Schengen agreement.

You never quite know with Liechtenstein. When their territory was invaded by Switzerland in 2007, they were very Continue reading »