Sunday

13th Jun 2021

EU parliament wants to blacklist tax havens

  • Panama hats at Malta protest: The massive leak on tax dodging implicated several EU politicians (Photo: Daphne Caruana Galizia)

The European Parliament wants the European Commission to put countries that are considered tax havens on a blacklist that also features countries suspected of money-laundering and terrorism financing.

Last July, the commission published its first blacklist in the context of a new directive aimed at countering money-laundering and financing terrorist.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Afghanistan, Bosnia, Guyana, Iraq, Laos, Syria, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Yemen were identified as countries with “strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT [anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing] regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union” .

If a country is listed, financial institutions in the EU are required to “apply enhanced customer due diligence measures when establishing business relationships or carrying out transactions with natural persons or legal entities established in the listed countries”, according to the legislation.

The European Parliament and EU member states have given the commission the power to decide who is put on the blacklist via a so-called delegated regulation, but they maintained veto power.

MEPs decided to approve the first version of the list, but this week also decided to write a letter saying that more countries should be added the next time it is updated - expected to be in October.

A draft letter addressed to justice commissioner Vera Jourova, seen by this website, said the list should be “a broad list of criminal activities, including for example 'tax crime',” mentioning Panama as an example.

The Central American republic came into the public eye recently when a trove of documents showed the extent to which money is stored offshore there.

By not including countries involved in “tax crimes”, the commission “puts European institutions in a difficult position as it can unintentionally be understood as an endorsement to those regimes that would not be in line with its own assessment criteria”, the MEPs wrote.

The EU commission was not immediately available for comment.

Cyprus in spotlight on Russia money laundering

Cyprus’ failure to go after Russian mafia money in its banks indicates it's paying no more than “lip service” to international money laundering laws, a Dutch MP has said.

Finance ministers baulk at tax-avoidance rules

Member states will discuss again in June a proposed directive to outlaw practices used by large companies to avoid paying taxes. Meanwhile, the European Parliament makes progress on its probe of Panama Papers.

EU states warm to tax avoidance measures

In the wake of Apple's record-breaking tax bill, EU finance ministers are giving more support to the idea of strengthening corporate tax legislation.

News in Brief

  1. EU top court fast-tracks rule-of-law case to October
  2. Hungary's Fidesz wants to ban LGBTIQ content for under-18s
  3. MEPs join EU citizens on farm-animal cage ban
  4. Council of Europe urges Russia to release Navalny 'immediately'
  5. China's anti-sanctions law alarms EU businesses
  6. Airlines seek to water down EU passengers' rights
  7. EU leaders join call for further probe into Covid origins
  8. Liberal MEPs under fire over Babiš abstention

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU urges Poland to step back from 'legal primacy' clash
  2. Pressure builds on EU to back WTO vaccine-patent waiver
  3. EU anti-fraud agency cracked down on fake pandemic supplies
  4. MEP office expenses kept secret on dubious evidence
  5. What the EU public think of EU pesticide regulation
  6. MEPs set to take EU Commission to court on rule-of-law
  7. EU takes legal action against Germany on bonds ruling
  8. MEPs demand new EU biodiversity law by next year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us