At their historic Lough Erne meeting, the G8 held a very useful discussion on tax issues, culminating in the Lough Erne Declaration. This declaration outlined G8's commitment to "make a real difference" in ten particular areas. Four of these areas relate to tax. The Taoiseach has already welcomed the Declaration and asserted that it did not present a problem for Ireland. Perhaps the single most important element of the ten point plan was in relation to the automatic exchange of information to fight the scourge of tax evasion. Ireland fully supports this objective. A lot of our efforts in the tax area during the Irish Presidency were focussed on countering tax fraud and evasion, whether this arose in specific tax dossiers, such as VAT or Savings, or whether in a more general sense, such as the Council's response to the Commission's Action Plan and associated Recommendations. In that regard, following a very successful discussion at the Informal ECOFIN which was held in Dublin Castle in April, myself and Commissioner Semeta issued a joint letter to all Ecofin Ministers urging quick progress on seven particular tax proposals. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that progress has been made in all seven areas.
Ireland has nothing to fear from the Lough Erne Declaration. The technical discussions aimed at achieving the aspirations contained in the Declaration have been underway for some time by way of the OECD's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. Ireland is deeply involved in the BEPS discussions, a fact that has recently been acknowledged by the Director of the OECD's Committee on Fiscal Affairs. We look forward to seeing the final results of this work.