The European Union plans to oblige member countries to share details of tax agreements made with big companies and end the practice of secret sweetheart deals.

The EU's executive Commission unveiled Wednesday draft legislation that would require countries "to automatically exchange information on their tax rulings" every three months.

EU countries rarely share information about their tax decisions and are often unaware of rulings made by their partners, which creates a gap that some multinationals exploit.

The EU's top economy and finance chief, Pierre Moscovici, said "it's high time to re-establish a tax balance and for companies to pay what they owe."

The Commission opened tax probes last year into Apple in Ireland, Starbucks in the Netherlands and Amazon in Luxemburg, and is also looking at tax laws in Belgium.