Luxembourg announces end of bank secrecy with EU states

LUXEMBOURG yesterday gave into mounting pressure from its fellow European countries and agreed to share bank account details of EU citizens who have savings there from 2015.

The decision, which follows fierce lobbying from the European Commission and Germany, puts pressure on Austria – now the only EU country which does not share such information – to follow suit.

“We are following a global movement ... we are not caving in to German pressure,” said Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, adding that 25 EU countries as well as the US wanted such data-sharing.

Luxembourg’s decision means the automatic exchange of data about EU citizens holding bank accounts in the country, with the aim of cracking down on tax avoidance in particular on interest income from savings.

Germany said on Tuesday that the EU’s five largest economies – Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain – had agreed to deepen cooperation in a bid to tackle tax evasion.

Luxembourg is one of Europe’s biggest financial centres and its banking sector is estimated to be 22 times the size of its economy, The European Commission said yesterday that it remained in talks with Austria, and was hopeful it would decide to follow Luxembourg’s lead.