Correspondent, Brussels
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Apr 26, 2013

Euro zone sees light at end of tunnel, pitfalls remain

BRUSSELS, April 26 (Reuters) – There are no calls for
celebration, no desire to relax in the corridors of Brussels but
some officials believe the euro zone has turned a corner,
sharpening the focus on longer-term reforms and structures.

Despite a messy bailout of Cyprus, markets are calm,
Ireland’s rescue programme is on track and Greece and Portugal,
while still in recession, hope for a slow recovery next year.

Apr 24, 2013

Divisions hamper bid for trading tax in Europe

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Divisions have emerged within a group of European countries planning to set a tax on financial transactions, an EU document showed, and doubts over central aspects of the levy are threatening to delay or water down the scheme.

The idea has already opened a rift in Europe after Britain last week mounted a legal challenge to the plan, which would hit trades involving banks in London even though Britain has no intention of signing up to the scheme.

Apr 13, 2013

Germany puts brakes on EU bank union with treaty call

DUBLIN, April 13 (Reuters) – Germany said European banking
union will require changes to EU law, in a call that could slow
completion of the plan designed to underpin the euro currency.

Speaking after a meeting of European Union finance ministers
on Saturday, Germany Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said
the EU’s Lisbon treaty had to be changed to allow common rules
on shutting troubled banks – a central element of the union.

Apr 13, 2013

Austria defies mounting pressure to end bank secrecy

DUBLIN, April 13 (Reuters) – Austria defied growing pressure
to follow Luxembourg in ending bank secrecy, after a group led
by Europe’s six biggest countries pledged to work together to
tackle tax havens.

Late on Friday, the finance ministers of Germany, France,
Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland announced their desire to
jointly push for more bank transparency, a message they will
take to the meeting of the Group of 20 top global economies in
Washington next week.

Apr 12, 2013

EU’s six largest members agree to fight tax havens

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The European Union’s six biggest countries agreed on Friday to cooperate in the fight against tax havens, piling pressure on Austria to follow Luxembourg in ending bank secrecy.

The finance ministers of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland announced their plans to push for more bank transparency within Europe and beyond.

Apr 12, 2013

Austria stands alone as EU momentum builds against bank secrecy

DUBLIN, April 12 (Reuters) – Austria dismissed calls on
Friday to follow Luxembourg in ending bank secrecy but pressure
grew as a group of Europe’s biggest countries prepared to
outline plans to tackle tax evasion.

It is said to deprives EU governments of 1 trillion euros

In blunt remarks on the sidelines of a meeting of European
ministers, Austria’s finance minister described any exchange of
information about account holders as an invasion of privacy and
criticised other countries for failing to tackle what she called
the real “hot spots” of money laundering.

Apr 12, 2013

Austria defies EU pressure to lift bank secrecy

DUBLIN, April 12 (Reuters) – Austria vowed on Friday to
stick to its bank secrecy laws, defying renewed pressure to
follow Luxembourg in revealing information on European Union
depositors with governments to clamp down on tax evasion.

The issue of tax havens and bank secrecy was a last-minute
addition to the agenda of informal talks of European Union
finance ministers in Dublin. Cyprus’s bailout and extending loan
repayments for Portugal and Ireland are also under discussion.

Apr 12, 2013

EU meeting to pile pressure on Austrian bank secrecy

DUBLIN, April 12 (Reuters) – Austria will come under renewed
pressure to prise open its bank secrecy rules at a two-day
meeting of European Union finance ministers, starting on Friday,
that will also seek to contain the fallout of a messy bailout of

The gathering in Dublin follows Luxembourg’s decision this
week to share foreign bank account details with the holders’
home EU governments from 2015, bringing it into line with all
other countries in the bloc bar one – Austria.

Apr 11, 2013

Austria slams US, UK “tax havens” as EU turns up heat

DUBLIN, April 11 (Reuters) – Austria hit back at critics of
its banking secrecy on Thursday by urging Britain and the United
States to crack down on money laundering and tax havens in their
own backyards, as EU ministers prepared to debate the issue in

Isolated in the European Union following Luxembourg’s move
this week to share foreigners’ bank data to foil tax cheats,
Austria’s finance minister said she could discuss such a change
of tack – but insisted it could not be a “one-way street” and
accused London and Washington of failing to close international
tax loopholes in the likes of Delaware and the Channel Islands.

Apr 11, 2013

EU ministers to tackle Cyprus fallout, banking union at Dublin talks

DUBLIN, April 11 (Reuters) – Fallout from the messy bailout
of Cyprus will top the agenda of a two-day EU finance ministers
meeting in Dublin beginning on Friday, with focus also on
growing German reluctance over euro zone banking reform.

Unease surrounding the rescue package for Cyprus grew on
Wednesday after Reuters and other news organisations obtained
documents detailing how the bailout will be financed and how
much of the total Cyprus is now expected to contribute.

    • About John

      "I am a Reuters correspondent in Brussels, writing about the European Union. I moved here last year from Germany, where I had reported about the financial crisis, turning up numerous scoops and even winning a prestigious business reporting award. Beforehand, I worked with The Sunday Times in London."
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