During a meeting of the European Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) in Brussels, Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s Minister of the Economy, declared that he was wholly against the bilateral agreements for the exchange of tax information which some European Union (EU) member states were negotiating with Switzerland.
Tremonti has, for some time, been concerned at the level of information and/or tax remitted between countries under the [European Union Savings Tax] Directive, and had already threatened, at the beginning of this year, an Italian veto on all EU tax matters unless clarification was forthcoming on tax recovery.
He has now said that the agreements being negotiated with Switzerland compromise, and are “plainly against the spirit of”, the existing EU regulations. He said that Italy could not agree to the EU Directive being “violated” by bilateral agreements. He pointed out that he is awaiting a reply within Ecofin on their unacceptability, and that “without a reply, there could not be unanimity”.
While there have also been further rumblings recently, particularly in the Swiss press, that there could be movement shortly towards a signing of the DTA between Italy and Switzerland, it will be seen that Tremonti, on whose shoulders would rest any decision to proceed, would need to move some way in his present opinion before any signing could be contemplated.
And it’s great to see an EU member state standing up and saying so.
Good on Italy, for a change.
And shame on the UK.