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EU removes eight states from the black list

Summary

After just one and a half months, the EU finance ministers removed eight of 17 states from the black list of tax havens. Critics consider the decision to be wrong. At the beginning of December, after months of discussions, the […]

EU removes eight states from the black list.  Tax evasion: Panama, the country where the law firm Mossack Fonseca organized tax evasion for the super-rich from around the world, was also blacklisted by the EU.  (Source: dpa / Alejandro Bolivar)

After just one and a half months, the EU finance ministers removed eight of 17 states from the black list of tax havens. Critics consider the decision to be wrong.

At the beginning of December, after months of discussions, the EU states agreed on a black list of countries and tax jurisdictions outside the EU against which there were tax concerns. These included Bahrain, Barbados, Namibia and Panama. A good 45 states had already signaled at the time that they would take a look at their tax practices. You ended up on a gray list.

The debate about global tax avoidance had gained momentum in the light of the revelations in the so-called Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers about corporate networks and letterbox companies. The EU originally targeted 90 countries in early 2017. According to the information, many of them were already cooperative at the time.

Peter Altmaier: Successfully combating tax avoidance in a month and a half

Eight of the so far 17 branded tax havens pledged to change their tax practices, as it was said at the meeting of EU finance ministers on Tuesday in Brussels. But they should continue to be monitored. Barbados, Grenada, South Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Panama, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates have now made concessions. The EU finance ministers put them from the black to the gray list.

The acting Federal Finance Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) was satisfied. “The blacklist is already a success because many countries in the world are discussing what it means to be named there,” he said. Some states are making vigorous efforts to cooperate. “Anyone who is removed from the list because they promise cooperation must expect that they will come back on this list if they do not keep what they promise us.”

EU did not agree on sanctions

There are currently no sanctions or penalties associated with being named. EU Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has repeatedly advocated this in the past. In tax matters, however, the EU states must unanimously agree on changes or new measures.

Criticism of the shortening of the list came mainly from the European Parliament. “With today’s decision, the finance ministers are issuing a certificate of poverty themselves. To pardon one of the world’s leading tax havens in Panama is a fatal signal in the fight for more tax justice, ”said CSU MEP Markus Ferber. “The black list of tax havens was pretty implausible from the start, now it’s downright ridiculous.”

The Green finance expert Sven Giegold called for the commitments of the states in question to be published. “The finance ministers must reveal why they classify the eight tax havens as trustworthy.” In addition, not only states outside the EU should be held accountable. “The European Union must also sweep its own doorstep and blacklist the EU member states Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta.”

Those:– dpa