The European Union's tax commissioner has objected to Swiss deals with Germany and Britain, saying they cut too far into the EU's remit, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The paper said Brussels was threatening to sue Britain and Germany for striking deals with Switzerland aimed at reining in tax dodgers, claiming the bilateral pacts contravene European law.
If we are unable to sort out these problems then it is clear that, as the guardians of this treaty, we will have to proceed with the instruments that are in our hands, Commissioner Algirdas Semeta was quoted as saying in an interview with the FT. The paper said he was referring to an existing tax agreement between the EU and Switzerland.
Algirdas' office was not immediately available for comment.
Strict Swiss bank secrecy, which helped the country become the world's biggest offshore banking centre, has come under heavy fire in recent years from cash-strapped governments clamping down on tax evasion, putting client confidentiality under threat.
The FT said that the EU objections had prompted Germany to seek to renegotiate its deal, reached in September, with Switzerland. Until now, it was believed that objections from German lawmakers were behind Berlin's attempt to revisit the Swiss talks.
(Reporting By Katharina Bart)