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A blacklist of tax havens established by the EU

(B2) The bad students specializing in tax evasion are not all there. But the 28 EU finance ministers still managed to enact a “black list” of countries they consider to encourage tax evasion and a “grey list” of countries suspected of tax evasion but which have promised to improve. Decisions adopted on December 5, at the end of a discussion which was not easy.

17 blacklisted countries

The “black” list includes fewer countries than expected in the end (17 countries), notably Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Barbados, Grenada, Panama, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, the American island of Guam, South Korea South, the Marshall Islands, Macau, Mongolia, Palau, Samoa, Namibia and Tunisia.

A gray list

Some States have promised to do everything to resolve the problems observed, quickly, by 2018 or 2019. On this list we find countries which should have been on the first list but escaped infamy, in making promises (and intense lobbying). We find for example: Armenia, Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Cayman Islands, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Curaçao, Fiji, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Jordan, Labuan Island, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Swaziland, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Some European states and territories

There are a few European states (Andorra, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Macedonia (Fyrom), Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey) and also territories belonging to member states: New Caledonia (France), island of Man, Guernsey and Jersey (United Kingdom). However, we do not find in this list some notorious “tax havens” such as Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, etc., although known for their tolerant legislation; they are Member States, and as such, they escape both the black and gray lists.

Strong pressures

The pressures were very strong until the last moment. Certain states which should have been on the blacklist, such as Morocco or Qatar, have increased contacts and lobbying to avoid it. Toomas Tõniste, Minister of Finance of Estonia, who chaired the meeting, recognized this phenomenon, instead highlighting the positive effect: “ This initiative is already proving its worth, as many countries have worked to meet the deadline for making commitments based on our criteria. “, he remarked. " But it is also important that we closely monitor the implementation of the commitments made by our partners around the world. »

defensive measures

The consequences of being included on this list are not negligible. As long as countries maintain their policies, the EU and member states will be able to “ apply defensive measures ". Measurements, " both fiscal and non-fiscal, which aim to prevent the erosion of State tax bases ».

The “Caribbean” list

The process has been temporarily suspended for countries and territories affected by a natural disaster: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Dominica, British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis Islands Turks and Caicos. This mainly concerns the countries affected by hurricanes in 2017. They will be “ invited to respond to the concerns expressed as soon as their situation has improved, with a view to resolving the problems noted by the end of 2018 ". They will be " contacted by February 2018 in order to prepare the next steps ».

A revised list

This list will be reassessed regularly. " This is not just a one-off measure. warned T. Tõniste. “We will regularly review and update the list.”


Find out more: The full Council text

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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