The European Union on Tuesday published its long-awaited blacklist of ‘non-cooperative’ states in line with its strategy to further combat tax evasion and avoidance within the bloc.
The EU’s list was established following screening and dialogue conducted during 2017 with a large number of third country jurisdictions, an EU Council statement explained.
Those that appear on the list failed to take ‘meaningful’ action to address deficiencies identified and did not engage in a ‘meaningful’ dialogue on the basis of the EU’s criteria.
“They made no such commitment at a high political level in time for the Council meeting,” it said.
The list includes the following countries:
American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
None of Britain’s overseas terrorises, such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, appear on the blacklist.
Instead they were put on the grey or “watchlist,” which comprises a number of states that aim to structure their tax laws along those of the EU.
The grey list includes the following: Andorra, Armenia, Aruba, Belize, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cook Islands, Curacao, Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Seychelles, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Corporate transparency campaigners Tax Justice Network expressed dismay.
“Members like the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg are the greatest procurers of global profit shifting but are excluded; and while the UK has sought to frustrate the blacklisting of its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories at every turn, the list is hard to take seriously,” it said.
“The public has had enough of governments saying they will do better. Real action is needed. It is completely pointless to have a blacklist with no sanctions. Tax avoiders, and the countries that sponsor them will all be letting out a sigh of relief today.”
Countries appearing on the blacklist will no longer be used by EU organisations for international financial operations. They are also likely to be regarded as havens for financial crime.
The lists will be reviewed and updated regularly, the EU said.
Toomas Tõniste, minister for finance of Estonia,s aid: “This initiative is already proving its value, as numerous countries have worked to meet the deadline for making commitments on the basis of our criteria.”
“But it is also important that we closely monitor the implementation of commitments made by our partners around the world.”