Luxembourg dents EU hopes to end banking secrecy

Luxembourg warned that EU finance ministers will be wasting their time to secure a deal for an end to banking secrecy at two-day EU talks.
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* Nicosia - Nicosia - Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Jan. 14, 2014 - PRLog -- Finance ministers from the 28 European Union member states will be asked to give their approval to the automatic exchange of information on personal savings accounts by the end of 2013.

A Luxembourg government statement stated that "Any step towards more exchange of information had to be accompanied by an enhanced 'level playing field'" with third countries, in particular non-EU neighbor Switzerland.

Luxembourg confirmed it will accept the automatic exchange of bank account information within the EU by 2015.

It claims the same standards must be applied by all the major financial centers in order to avoid capital leaving the EU and to preserve the EU's capacity to invest in order to boost the economy.

Oxfam (an international confederation of 17 organizations in over 90 countries working on solutions for poverty ( and related injustice ( has estimated that more than $12 trillion is hidden in EU-anchored tax havens, with Britain and its dependencies alone, from Guernsey to Grand Cayman, accounting for more than half.

Liechtenstein claimed it would sign until then end of the year an international agreement on fighting tax evasion brokered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

As EU strives to tighten controls over the payment of taxes, in reality EU is faced with a balancing act, ensuring that beneficial tax provisions are not abused while respecting taxpayers’ rights to bank secrecy. The question remains whether EU, having an array of traditional financial centers including Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Cyprus will be able to maintain a balance.

Charles Savva
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