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Villiger commissions high-powered financial strategy group

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger (pictured), has commissioned a high-ranking strategy group to inform him about developments relating to financial policy.

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger (pictured), has commissioned a high-ranking strategy group to inform him about developments relating to financial policy.

The "Group of Reflection", established a month ago, is to report to him on matters which could affect the political-decision making process, against a background of dynamism on the financial markets and pressure on Switzerland as a financial centre.

The catalyst for the creation of the group is the European Union's proposals aimed at harmonising taxes on interest accrued from bank accounts. This could involve a cross-border system to deter EU citizens becoming tax refugees.

Villiger has repeatedly said that Switzerland is prepared within the current framework of its withholding tax and banking secrecy laws to make efforts so that Switzerland does not become a haven for EU tax refugees.

The group includes the State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, Franz von Däniken and the head of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, David Syz, as well as representatives from the Justice and Police Ministry, the Swiss National Bank and the Federal Banking Commission.

Finance Ministry spokesman Daniel Eckman said the group had a mandate to act as a "seismograph" for events in the financial sector and to work out recommendations for political decisions.

At the weekend, EU finance ministers meeting in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, were unable to agree on a joint approach on the question of taxation.

swissinfo with agencies







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