European Union blacklists 17 non-EU tax havens
European Union ministers adopted on Tuesday a blacklist of 17 non-EU tax havens including Panama, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates after a year of tough negotiations.
The Paradise Papers leak last month gave a new impetus to the plan, making public some of the intricate ways the world's rich evade tax using offshore havens. "We have adopted at EU level a list of states which are not doing enough to fight tax evasion. This blacklist includes 17 states," French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters in Brussels.
The EU has struggled for over a year to finalise the blacklist, with smaller, low-tax EU nations such as Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg worried about scaring off multinationals. The countries on the list are: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. A further 47 countries are on a "grey list", sources said.
Other jurisdictions are understood to have been given leeway after suffering severe damage during hurricanes in the Caribbean earlier this year. Britain fought particularly hard against the list, afraid that its crown dependencies, including Jersey and the Virgin Islands, would be singled out. Senior officials from member states had whittled down an initial draft of 29 countries, with divisions still strong in recent days on who would make the final version. 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 an "initial victory".