Luxembourg and Austria have finally agreed to drop their reservations to the new EU tax-evasion legislation aimed at curtailing bank secrecy and tax evasion.

"We confirmed today that this is the course we want to follow," Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said the move was "indispensable for enabling the member states to better clamp down on tax fraud and tax evasion."

Luxembourg and Austria, which have benefitted from a secretive banking culture, have been blocking agreement on the law since 2008.

The two countries had insisted that they would only agree after other countries often considered tax havens — Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino — had signed up to the same rules.

The legislation mandates the EU’s 28 member states to automatically exchange information on accounts held by their citizens abroad.

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It is estimated that tax fraud and companies’ cross-border tax avoidance schemes cost the bloc’s 28- governments an estimated EUR1 trillion annually.