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EU backs Swiss over tax blacklist spat

The European Union does not envisage putting Switzerland on a tax haven blacklist, as Germany has threatened, the EU's ambassador to Switzerland has said.

Michael Reiterer said that Switzerland could not be compared with Liechtenstein over tax issues.

"Switzerland has concluded a taxation of savings agreement with the EU, an anti-fraud agreement is being ratified, and Switzerland cooperates over stopping money laundering," Reiterer told the Sonntag newspaper. "This is a different situation to Liechtenstein."

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück called for Switzerland to be placed on a tax haven blacklist, along with Liechtenstein, Andorra and Monaco, during a conference on financial transparency in Paris on Tuesday, attended by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) representatives.

Switzerland reacted angrily to the move, summoning Germany's ambassador to Bern to express its "surprise and discontent".

Reiterer urged calm in the matter. "Tempers are a little frayed during times of financial crisis, not getting over-excited is the order of the day," said the EU ambassador.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) on Sunday confirmed to the Swiss news agency that Switzerland would also be taking up the tax matter with the OECD.


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