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At a meeting of European finance ministers on December 10, Austria and Luxembourg once again blocked an agreement on the automatic exchange of banking data, reports Der Standard. The daily explains that —

Austria and Luxembourg moved to block the amended version of the European Savings Directive, which aims to ensure that EU countries will be able to effectively tax their citizens, even those with bank accounts abroad. This is also the reason for the exchange of banking data between tax authorities throughout the EU.

Other EU member states, which were outspoken in their criticism of Luxembourg and Vienna, deplored a veto that will be of benefit to tax evaders. Worse still, explains Der Standard, Vienna has struck a deal with Washington on an exchange of data between the two countries that is almost fully automatic: a development that has angered the European Commission, which “is demanding equal treatment from Austria.”