Anguilla, Dominica and Seychelles have officially been removed from the EU's blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions on tax matters, the European Union's council of member states confirmed in a statement on 5 October.
But British charity Oxfam said in reaction to the statement that the EU's list was ineffective and insufficient given the Pandora Papers, and EU lawmakers have also weighed in with criticism too.
All three territories had previously been placed on the list because they did not meet the EU's tax transparency criteria of being ranked as at least ‘largely compliant' by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Global Forum on exchange of information.
The EU is shutting its eyes to real tax havens while considering blacklisting poor countries who do not sign up to the imminent global tax agreement."
Nine jurisdictions remain on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions (Annex I): American Samoa, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.
Pending a supplementary review, Anguilla, Dominica and Seychelles are now included in the sco-called grey list (Annex II), which covers jurisdictions that do not yet comply with all international tax standards but that have committed to implementing tax good governance principles.
Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, North Macedonia, Qatar and Uruguay have also been added to this list, while Australia, Eswantini and Maldives have implemented all the necessary tax reforms and have therefore been removed from it.
Turkey continues to be in the grey list. In February 2021, the Council called on Turkey to commit to automatic information exchange with all member states, and even though progress has since been made, further steps need to be taken.
Twice a year the Council revises its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions and an accompanying state of play document.
However, Oxfam EU tax expert Chiara Putaturo said: "The EU is shutting its eyes to real tax havens while considering blacklisting poor countries who do not sign up to the imminent global tax agreement."
"Today's decision to delist Anguilla, the only remaining jurisdiction with a zero per cent tax rate, and Seychelles, which are at the heart of the latest tax scandal, renders the EU's blacklist a joke," she said.
"While the Pandora Papers investigation blew the lid on how the super-rich continue to use tax havens to avoid paying their taxes, ordinary people are asked to foot the COVID-19 recovery bill."