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Luxembourg, Austria Maintain Opposition to EU Savings-Tax Deal

December 20, 2013

Luxembourg and Austria maintained their opposition to an extended savings-tax deal, one of the European Union’s tools to speed up its fight against tax evasion.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, attending his first EU summit, and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said no decisions can be taken until the European Commission completes talks with countries outside the 28-nation bloc including Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, San Marino and Monaco.

“It’s not possible to say there should be an accord without these negotiations,” Bettel, who took over from Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the Luxembourg government this month, told reporters early today in Brussels. “The negotiations should not be about going for a cup of coffee. The goal is that these five countries go in this direction.”

The proposed agreement aims to set standards for how countries can collect information on income that their residents earn from savings held in other nations. The updated accord plans to close loopholes in the previous pact by including savings income from trusts, foundations, funds and other financial products. It will also require all EU nations to take part in information exchanges after a transition period.

Austria is most concerned about Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Faymann said before the second day of the summit.

“It’s justified to say that we want it for the five,” said Faymann. “But it can’t lead to a blockade with nothing coming out of it.”

Faymann said he has confidence in Michael Spindelegger, his new finance minister, to negotiate a deal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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