The Union’s economy and finance ministers have updated their blacklist of tax havens, not to expand it, but to lighten it. With the withdrawal of Anguilla, Dominica and the Seychelles, only nine jurisdictions are still blacklisted.
Two days after the publication of the Pandora Papers, this decision stains. “It makes a joke of the EU’s blacklist,” says Oxfam. For Socialist MEP Paul Tang, chairman of the sub-committee on fiscal matters, the criteria of the European blacklist are completely unsuitable and require serious reforms. Some of the most notorious tax havens, notably those mentioned in the Pandora Papers, are not on the European blacklist, points out the German conservative Markus Ferber. He calls for a remedy as well as the introduction of dissuasive sanctions. All urge to target also EU member states, not affected by the list, while the names of the Cypriot president, the Czech prime minister as well as the Dutch finance minister are mentioned in the Pandora Papers.
The European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, defended the results obtained since 2017, while acknowledging that the European instrument does not work completely and said he was open to discussing the criteria. “The scandal, like those of the Panama Papers or Luxleaks, strengthens our determination to pursue our action plan against tax evasion,” he assures, recalling that a new legislative proposal on the abusive use of front companies will arrive before the end of the year.