French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said "under no circumstances" does he want to fall out with Switzerland, adding for good measure that he “adores Roger Federer”.
He also denied he had treated his neighbour as a tax haven at the G20 summit in Cannes last year.
Sarkozy was speaking on Wednesday in the French commune of Annecy, 35 kilometres south of Geneva, where he declared his candidacy for a second presidential term.
“I never treated Switzerland as a tax haven. I said that at the heart of Europe – even if Switzerland is not in the European Union – every country had to implement rules which are the rules of regulated globalisation,” he told Swiss radio.
“I have a lot of affection for our Swiss friends. I have many contacts with Swiss leaders. Switzerland is an ally, a sister country – but there are rules.”
He explained it had been decided within the G20 that, regarding international cooperation, banking secrecy laws had to change.
“Banking secrecy is to preserve people’s private lives, not to authorise certain things that shouldn’t be authorised,” he said.
At November’s summit in Cannes, to which Switzerland wasn’t invited, Sarkozy denounced the Swiss government’s shortcomings towards tax, despite the fact that Switzerland had been off tax haven black lists since September 2009.
swissinfo.ch and agencies