ZURICH, Switzerland : Switzerland will not cede to the European Union’s push to amend tax rules it accuses of giving an unfair advantage to companies operating in some Swiss cantons, the country’s finance minister said.
“Certainly, we can defend ourselves,” Hans-Rudolf Merz said, according to an interview published Sunday in weekly SonntagsZeitung. He added that Switzerland was unduly criticized with other European Union member states offering “massive tax privileges” to foreign companies.
The European Commission urged the Alpine nation to amend tax rules it said violated a 1972 trade agreement and allowed companies based in Switzerland to enjoy tax breaks on profits generated inside the EU.Switzerland rejected the commission’s complaints, saying taxes were not covered in the trade deal.
The commission said it was seeking a mandate from the 27 EU governments to find a negotiated settlement with the Swiss.“There is nothing to negotiate,” Merz said, according to the interview. “There’s a problem of communication with the EU.” Switzerland would have to explain its tax system to the EU and make clear that it complies with international rules, he said.