EU jealous of Austria banking information
ATHENES - ReutersEuropean commissioner Algirdas Semeta criticized Austrian policies on banking secrecy Jan. 25, suggesting in an interview that the EU might file a complaint on the issue.
“A country like Austria cannot exchange banking information with the United States, but refuse it to European partners,” Semeta told the Austrian daily Der Standard.
He referred to an agreement being negotiated by Austria and the U.S. that would provide for an automatic exchange of information on U.S. citizens who hold bank accounts in Austria.
Semeta said that if an EU member accorded better conditions to a third country than to partners within the European Union, “that is a violation of the law, which could lead to a complaint by the European Commission.” Austria and Luxembourg are the only EU members that refuse to divulge the identity of EU residents that own bank accounts in their countries, owing to principles of banking secrecy.As EUbusiness announced, Austria has concluded separate agreements with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to preserve banking secrecy.