Tax havens are blacklisted by EU

Tax havens are blacklisted by EU

Completing the list are American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Among those not included on the main blacklist were British overseas territories such as the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Jersey, all of which were revealed to be at the centre of major tax avoidance schemes in the recent Paradise Papers.

"We must intensify the pressure on listed countries to change their ways".

European Union experts looked at 92 countries, before the list of non-cooperative entities was taken down to about 50. There were about 20 countries that are thought to facilitate tax evasion and November's Paradise Papers leak gave the initiative a new momentum.

"I'm glad that many jurisdictions have taken this very seriously and are willing to cooperate in order to avoid being listed", Toniste said.

Enforcement is the biggest problem, with European Union countries split over whether blacklisted countries should be subjected to financial sanctions or if the list itself is shaming enough.

"The placement in the list must not be seen as the end game: on the contrary, the exercise is ongoing and remains a matter of cooperation between partners", he said. "It would have made clear that they can get a red light or a green light according to what they do next".

A second public "grey list" or "watchlist", of 47 jurisdictions that have committed to changing their tax rules to abide by European Union standards on transparency and cooperation was also adopted.

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said ahead of the official announcement that this was fewer than the 20 countries he had hoped for but would be a "initial victory".

The full list was not immediately published. "But one should not underestimate the effect of a black list", said Luxembourg's Pierre Gramegna. The bloc plans to update the list at least once a year.

"Bahrain will commit to be a member of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS." the ministry said in an emailed statement to Reuters, listing a series of steps it had already taken to exchange tax information with other countries.

Some countries such as Luxembourg and Malta have opposed stricter sanctions while EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: "stronger countermeasures would have been preferable".

Higher-tax countries like France have pushed for the blacklist and a Europe-wide crackdown on tax havens.

Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development, criticised the EU for the lack of will to look at its own member states.

He admitted however that some practices should be "prohibited" or "fought" in some member states.

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