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EU calls for swift progress to fight against tax evasion

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-15 00:02

.VILNIUS, Lithuania, September 14 --European Union (EU) officials on Saturday discussed the issues of tax evasion and the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) in the EU finance ministers' meeting ,aiming to gain more progresses to stabilize the market.

Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius told the conference,"World leaders give high priority to the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning. This is also one of the key priorities of Lithuanian Presidency. Our main challenge is to continue the progress in development of automatic information exchange system in the EU and coordinate it with the OECD progress."

The minisiters' main focus was on recent initiatives at the EU and global level related to automatic exchange of information. The ministers exchanged views on how actions can be better coordinated and would lead to effective global standard.

EU official also called for more efforts to fight against tax evasion at global level.

European Commission member in charge of Taxation and Customs Algirdas Semeta said, the progress that have been achieved this year in the fight against tax evasion testify what can be done when Member States all work in the same direction. "In the area of automatic information exchange, we will have the experience, the expertise and the collective weight to influent the international environment." He added.

The EU meeting was attended by Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD is making progress in developing a global model of automatic exchange of information which they expect to complete in 2014.

The other important topic at the meeting is the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).

Semeta said," the Commission is absolutely confident in the legality of the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) we have proposed. We reject that it goes against the treaties or that compromises the single market. "

"Nevertheless, I fully appreciate the need for our member States to be ensured of the legal certainties when negotiating such an important proposal. Therefore we stand ready to answer any question that they may have and we continue to provide any clarification needed to facilitate swift progress towards a successful compromise on the FTT," Semeta stressed.

The European Commission proposed an imposition of a tax of 0.1 percent on trades in shares and bonds, and a 0.01 percent tax on derivatives trading. The proceeds could go towards the central EU budget.

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