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Brussels, 11 March 2014
Statement by Commissioner Šemeta on Savings Tax Directive
The discussion today at ECOFIN on the EU Savings Tax Directive was a constructive one, and proof that all our Member States are now behind greater tax transparency.
While it is again disappointing that we could not get political agreement on this file today, it is clear that we are very near the finishing line.
With the EU leaders’ endorsement next week, I believe that the Savings Tax Directive will still be adopted before the end of this month.
A stronger Savings Tax Directive is crucial for all Member States to better identify and chase up tax evaders, and to close loopholes which these evaders are exploiting.
Moreover, it has acquired a new significance in the past year. The Savings Tax Directive will part of the legislative framework for applying the new global standard of automatic exchange of information within the EU.
This proposal – together with the revised Administrative Cooperation Directive which I proposed last year – will ensure the widest scope of automatic information exchange between our Member States.
And, thanks to the EU's intense involvement in the OECD process, this approach within our Union is fully consistent with the new global standard.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we swiftly rubber stamp the Savings Directive, as part of our solid legal basis to implement the new international norm.
Meanwhile, the Ministers gave a very positive response to my report on our negotiations for stronger tax agreements with our 5 neighbours – including Switzerland.
I was pleased today to be able to present good progress, with all five countries ready to work towards alignment with the EU when it comes to tax transparency, in keeping with the Global Standard.
That is not something we could have foreseen even one year ago.
The Commission will continue these talks with full vigour, and I am highly confident that these discussions will bring impressive results.