EU leaders have talked tough on alleged tax-dodging, but have stopped short of taking any action on how to deal with it.
Both Austria and Luxembourg have previously been criticised for their resistance to easing banking secrecy.
Now they’ve agreed to sign up, in principle, to sharing data on foreign depositors.
Luxembourg’s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker said:
“We’ll see after negotiating with Switzerland and other third countries to what extent to which we can expand the application of the EU Savings Directives. We’ve already agreed to extend it in principle, now we need to wait for what comes out of the negotiations.”
Juncker said his country will share data from 2015 if those talks are successful.
The EU also plans to negotiate with other small states such as Liechtenstein and Monaco.
Martin Schulz, the speaker of the European Parliament, said: “First of all I was shocked: years and years the European parliament and also national parliaments asked for more consequent fight against tax evasion and nothing happened and then came the off-shore leak and immediately everything was upset. This is a bad signal”
Automatic exchange of information on foreign deposits would be a key step in the fight against tax evasion as makes it easier for tax authorities to spot illicit money flows.