It couldn't get much clearer than this. Having noted in an editorial this morning that Germany is having second thoughts about signing a tax deal with Switzerland it goes on to say:
They are right to reject the deal — just as the UK, which has concluded a similar agreement, should have done. It cannot be right to exonerate tax cheaters from legal liability as long as they have paid less or given up less information about their tax affairs than what the law exacts from those who keep their money at home.
Indeed, the willingness of the UK — and of Germany’s federal government — to sell out on the principle that taxpayers must declare their taxable earnings and assets is of far greater import than the prospect for immediate tax windfalls. Fiscal austerity has created public pressure for improving cross-border tax co-operation, and the battle is now being fought over the shape of a future regime. There is a risk of setting a precedent by which governments give up on better information exchange between tax authorities if banks themselves act as collectors from clients allowed to remain anonymous.
That would suit Switzerland well — no doubt a reason for its current aggressive reaction. Other states, however, should insist that all taxpayers obey the same rules.