PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday that he was open to discussions on banking secrecy but would not tolerate accusations that his country was a centre for tax evaders.
Juncker, who is also chairman of the Eurogroup, said his country had decided weeks ago not to send representatives to a Paris gathering of countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to discuss tax havens.
Luxembourg did not need to attend the meeting called by the French and Germans, he said, adding he would be open to discussing transparency in the financial sector in the future.
"I am absolutely open to discussing the virtues of banking secrecy ... but we are not prepared to voluntarily place ourselves on a bench of the accused," Juncker told France 2 television in a lively exchange.
Tuesday's meeting, hosted by France, demanded stronger action against tax havens and urged that an OECD blacklist be updated in time for a meeting on the issue next year.
Juncker told France 2 that there was no sound basis to draw any link between banking secrecy and tax havens.
Luxembourg, one of a number of OECD countries that did not attend the Tuesday meeting, said it did not believe it was a tax haven.
"I have spoken to the French prime minister and the French president. ... They told me that when they talk about tax havens, they are not thinking of Luxembourg," Juncker told his country's parliament earlier in the day.
(Reporting by Yves Clarisse and Tamora Vidaillet; Editing by Jonathan Oatis) Keywords: FINANCIAL JUNCKER/
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