Brussels is undertaking a new attempt to create an EU blacklist of countries that are open to fraud and money laundering in October, before the end of the current European Commission's mandate, according to the Financial Times.
Vera Jourova, EU's commissioner for justice, said a new methodology would be used to decide which territories are to be included in the new money laundering list.
The former list was torpedoed in February by several EU member states after pressure from Saudi Arabia and the United States. Governments led by the UK, Germany and France complained they had been blindsided by the initiative and said the list was not drawn up in a "transparent and credible process".
[Commission] did right to list Saudi Arabia"
The US Treasury said when the list was approved by the European Commission that the listing process was "flawed" and it rejected the inclusion of the four US territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
"Is still not easy for me to swallow", Jourova told the FT about the rejection, but added that the Commission would push ahead with a fresh blacklist using a new methodology that has been devised in co-operation with EU capitals. "I believe we honestly did our best to have the methodology right and to have the assessment right,'' said Jourova, who has been nominated by the Czech government to serve a second term as Prague's EU commissioner from November.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman sent letters to all 28 EU leaders urging them to not include Riyadh on the register, noting it could affect trade with the EU. The oil-rich kingdom is a major importer of EU weapons and goods.
She said she was convinced the commission "did right to list Saudi Arabia" but suggested the revamped list would likely name a different group of territories and allow some jurisdictions to be placed on a "grey list" if they co-operate with European recommendations.
The original EU list included Saudi Arabia and Panama, but also US territories such as the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, placing them alongside the likes of Iran, Syria and North Korea. Banks in the EU are required to use increased due diligence on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from the blacklisted countries.