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Foreign ministers discuss cooperation

Banking secrecy was high on the agenda when Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey met her Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger in Bern on Monday.

Spindelegger told journalists afterwards that his country saw no need for any change in this area. He added that what needed to be discussed was the consequences of a partial lifting of banking secrecy, namely the flow of money to other regions of the world.

Switzerland's tax laws have been fiercely criticised by the European Commission. In November both Germany and France called for Switzerland to be blacklisted as an uncooperative tax haven.

Switzerland's admission into the Schengen area last December has opened up the way to closer cooperation, Spindelegger said. He cited a pilot project under which Switzerland will handle visa applications for Austria in Kosovo and the Dominican Republic from the middle of this year.

Spindelegger was in Switzerland on a one-day visit.

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