Liechtenstein Prince Offends German Jews
Liechtenstein’s sovereign Prince Hans Adam II has outraged German Jews yet again. He did so by saying the Holocaust is the reason for his tiny country’s banking secrecy during an interview with a Liechtenstein newspaper.
“We and Switzerland saved many people, especially Jews, with banking secrecy,” The Prince said to the Liechtensteiner Volksblatt. “Germany should clean up its own act, and think about its past.” The latter was in reference to Germany criticizing the principality for tax evasion.
Hans Adam went on to explain that Jewish people were able to store their finances in this micro-state’s banks during the Nazi period.
“The comments are a mockery of the Holocaust and its survivors,” Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the German Central Council of Jews, told Bild newspaper. “It is historically incorrect for him to portray Liechtenstein as a merciful helper of the Jews. It is an attempt to use the Holocaust as a defense for the prince’s political failures. His highness would be better off retiring.”
The last time Hans Adam outraged German Jews was back in 2008, when he called Germany the “Fourth Reich.”
Prince Hans-Adam is Liechtenstein’s head of state, but in 2004, he gave his powers to his son, Prince Alois.
Parliament Wants Willem-Alexander Step Down From Bank
The majority of Holland’s Parliament would like to see the country’s Crown Prince step down as a member of the advisory board of the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). This, according to the Dutch program, Een Vandaag, which interviewed several Parliamentarians.
- Reuters File
The reason for the call is due to some politicians concern for Willem-Alexander since there is a political investigation into the credit crisis.
As of June 30th, not too many Dutch parliamentarians had any comments, but there were some willing to speak out. One, Ewout Irrgang, who agrees that the Prince should step down, because his role is a political one.
“The role of an independent Commissioner does not bear ministerial responsibility by the Prime Minister,” said Irrgang, according to NRC Handelsblad.
Another politician, Frans Weekers, said, “regardless of whether DNB has acted correctly, it can lead to strange situations,”
“If the Crown Prince is called by the parliamentary inquiry, then the Prime Minister will appear there soon.”
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander is commissioner of the DNB, mainly because it prepares him for his role as King. He has been on the board since 1998. His term was renewed in 2006, and will be up July 1st 2010.
Crown Princess Maxima Speaks at Banking Seminar
Dutch Crown Princess Maxima attended the seminar on “Global Alliance for Banking on Value”at Triodos Bank in the town of Zeist.
The seminar was part of the occasion of the establishment of an association of 12 international, sustainable banks, including the Dutch Triodos Bank. These banks are working together on corporate social responsibility and sustainable society.
Along with Crown Princess Maxima, Dutch politicians, academics and leaders of international and Dutch banks were there, as well as Princess Irene, the sister of Queen Beatrix.
The attendants gave speeches, and so did Maxima. She touched a little bit on the current global financial crisis.
“The core values of banking; trust, building sustainable and long-term relationships, and offering products that add real value, are more relevant than ever. And neglecting these values seems to be at the heart of the causes for the crisis.
“I understand the Global Alliance of Banking on Values has ambitious goals; to set inspiring examples of what banking can really do. Examples that will encourage the expansion of the boundaries of mainstream finance and contribute to social innovation in the financial sector. To combine strength, capacities and resources to tackle the global challenges facing people and the planet, and to drive a more responsible and sustainable economy.”
Maxima also discussed the financial troubles people in third world countries face.
“Over 2 billion people remain excluded from the financial services that we take for granted. The possibility to save in a savings account for example, equally as important as access to credits, has also been lagging. Only 20% of the world population has access to a savings account against more than 90% in the OECD countries.”
She went on to talk about what she learned during a visit to Paraguay last year, where she promoted microfinance.
“Somebody from an MFI said something I will never forget. He said: “It is not about increasing market share and trying to get as many products sold to the customers out there, but it is about giving the product that the consumer needs and that they can afford. Knowing your customer, not on a scoring basis, but really knowing that this client has the capacity to pay back his loan.”
Maxima ended her speech with a call for traditional banking.
“We need to go back to basics. Back to the traditional banking activity of acting as an intermediary between the saver and the borrower, back to a strong relationship between the customers and the financial institution that serves them, and back to a thorough assessment of how much a customer can really handle as a loan, giving him the opportunity to improve his life and give back his dignity.”