Luxembourg and Austria save time on banking secrecy

On Tuesday the European finance ministers failed to agree on tax evasion because of opposition from Luxembourg and Austria, which require equal treatment with third countries, such as Switzerland and others.

Ministers were asked to vote on the revision of a European directive, called on the taxation of savings since 2008. It provides the automatic exchange of information on interest paid to non-resident individuals.

Austria and Luxembourg have been blocking the text for several years in order to preserve their secrecy.

«We will give our consent, but not today,» said the Austrian minister Maria Fekter. As for her Luxembourg counterpart, Luc Frieden, he said he could not «give the green light» to the directive for now.

The two ministers explained their refusal by the requirement of «equal treatment» to non-EU members in the implementation of the measures provided by the Directive.

In this context Luxembourg and Austria have agreed to mandate the European Commission to renegotiate tax agreements with Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Liechtenstein. They were the only countries to oppose it. Unanimous agreement has been reached on this point on Tuesday.