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Monday 16.07.2018 | Name days: Hermīne, Estere

EU leaders see progress on lifting bank secrecy

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Jose Manuel Barroso

Jose Manuel Barroso

EU leaders in Brussels for a special summit on tax evasion and fraud hailed new political momentum on the issue, but few concrete measures were agreed to recoup the estimated €1 trillion yearly in lost revenues.

The upshot of the four-hour meeting was several deadlines – the most prominent being a call for the the adoption “before the end of the year” of the savings directive.

This vexed piece of legislation – on sharing bank account information allowing tax evasion to be more easily spotted – has been stuck in the EU pipelines for eight years, accoring to EU Observer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the agreement was a “giant step.” She added: “There will finally be an exchange of necessary tax information in the European Union.”

Chancellor Werner Faymann of Austria, one of the main opponents of the legislation, called it a “bad day for tax cheats.”

Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, the second of the two hold-out countries, was more circumspect but said his duchy will go along with the agreement “so long as the European Union goes ahead with its negotiation with Switzerland and other countries.”

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso gave a mixed message.

He said there is “new momentum among our member states,” but also noted that wording on automatic exchange of information could have been “more precise.”

EU leaders also agreed that the new anti-money laundering law should be adopted by the end of the year, while the EU commission is to present a revised version of a law governing how parent companies and their subsidiaries should be taxed.

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