Correspondent, Brussels
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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
annually.

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
Cyprus.

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
Dublin.

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.

Apr 10, 2013

EU mulls bank law to impose losses on depositors

BRUSSELS, April 10 (Reuters) – European Union ministers will
consider a proposal this week to impose losses on interbank
deposits of lenders in dire financial trouble as they shape a
draft EU law introducing powers that would also penalise those
with big savings.

Such an idea, should ministers back it, could further rattle
the confidence of lenders, already nervous about draft
legislation to determine who alongside shareholders should
suffer losses when a bank gets into trouble.

Apr 8, 2013

Austria feels heat of EU’s anti-bank-secrecy drive

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission warned Austria on Monday that its banking secrecy regime would leave it in a “lonely and unsustainable position” if it did not follow the same rules as other countries in sharing information on foreign depositors.

As part of a drive to curb tax evasion, Germany has been putting pressure on all “offshore” banking centers in Europe to apply uniform rules on exchanging account holders’ information, with particular attention on Luxembourg and Austria, the only EU states holding out.

Mar 27, 2013

Blunt Dutchman casts doubt on Europe’s bank promise

BRUSSELS, March 27 (Reuters) – Blunt remarks by a leading
minister saying European support for troubled banks is a last
resort laid bare what has long been an open secret in Brussels:
promises to create a euro zone backstop for banks may never be
fulfilled.

Designed to secure a level playing field in the euro zone
and prevent vulnerable countries having to contain financial
problems alone, a European banking union was one of the biggest
political commitments made to underpin the euro.

    • 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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