EU finance ministers are due to remove a further three countries from the EU’s blacklist of ‘uncooperative jurisdictions” when they meet next week, reducing the list to just six countries.
Reuters has reported that the EU Tax Code of Conduct Group has confirmed that Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia have all given undertakings that they will meet the commission’s tax transparency criteria by the end of the year. This will leave just six countries on the official EU blacklist: Trinidad and Tobago, American Samoa, Guam, Namibia, Palau and Samoa.
Since 2016, jurisdictions have been assessed on their compliance with international standards of tax transparency and fairness. Those jurisdictions that failed the tests were given an opportunity to stay off the blacklist by promising to reform their practices.
Initially consisting of 17 jurisdictions, eight (Panama, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Barbados, Grenada, Macao, Mongolia and Tunisia) were removed in January this year, after committing to certain key reforms.
“This ever-decreasing list of tax havens will soon be so short it will be able to fit on a post-it. It’s time for the EU to publish how it chooses which countries go on the list and why,” Elena Gaita, of the financial watchdog Transparency International EU, told Reuters.