Switzerland and EU member states sign understanding on business taxation

Bern, 14.10.2014 - Today in Luxembourg, Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and representatives of the 28 EU member states signed a mutual understanding in the form of a joint statement on business taxation, thereby putting an end to a controversy which has put a strain on relations between Switzerland and the EU for almost ten years. The signing took place on the fringes of the joint meeting of the economics and finance ministers of the EU and their counterparts from the EFTA countries.

The agreement signed today between Switzerland and the EU was initialled in Bern on 1 July 2014 and ends a bilateral controversy which has led to friction and to threats of severe countermeasures from the EU since 2005.

The Federal Council reaffirmed its intention to propose abolishing certain tax regimes within the framework of the third series of corporate tax reforms, particularly those that provide for different treatment of domestic and foreign revenue ("ring-fencing"). New tax measures should be based on the OECD international standards. In return, the EU member states confirmed that they will lift any countermeasures taken against these regimes as soon as the regimes in question have been abolished.

Parallel to this, Switzerland will remain actively involved in efforts to develop international standards for corporate taxation within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Meeting of the EU and EFTA finance ministers in Luxembourg

The signing took place on the fringes of the joint meeting of the economics and finance ministers of the EU and their counterparts from the EFTA countries. Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf stressed to her European counterparts that attention should be paid to ensure financial market regulation does not hinder economic growth and investments. Federal Councillor Widmer-Schlumpf said that good international cooperation and a level playing field are crucial for competition between the business locations and financial centres.


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