Thursday

18th Oct 2018

EU tax haven list could name US

  • Chase Bank in Delaware, US: MEP warned firms could flock to American haven if US omitted from new list (Photo: david son)

The European Commission has taken a step towards establishing a common EU list of tax havens, but critics fear that EU capitals may hijack the show and delete allied nations from the record.

The EU executive on Thursday (15 September) presented a method for verifying which countries outside the block qualify as tax havens (the commission says tax evasion problems inside the EU are dealt with under other, binding legislation).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

”A common EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions will carry much more weight than the current patchwork of national lists when dealing with non-EU countries that refuse to comply with international tax good governance standards,” the commission said in a statement.

”An EU list will also prevent aggressive tax planners from abusing mismatches between the different national systems.”

Economic ties to the EU, financial activity, political stability and basic tax good governance standards could all play a role in deciding which country ends up on the blacklist.

The ball is now with EU governments to name those countries.

Advocates of the fight against tax evasion were carefully optimistic.

”The list is interesting,” said Aurore Chardonnet, a tax policy advisor at Oxfam, the anti-poverty charity.

The indicators were more comprehensive than those recently agreed by OECD, a Paris-based club of industrialised nations, or by the G20, a grouping of the world’s 20 leading states, and could help the EU to target a number of tax havens, she said.

Chardonnet hoped that EU governments would stick to objective criteria and steer clear of temptations to omit ”close partners”.

Fabio De Masi, a German left-wing MEP who is vocal on tax avoidance and evasion issues, also feared that the list could fall prey to ”political capture”.

”It’s good if we can have Panama on the list,” De Masi said, ”but it’s pivotal that the US is included.”

The US state of Delaware is a well-known "onshore" tax paradise.

The EU, however, is basing its analysis of the US as a whole, meaning it could avoid being put on the list.

”The US is the main player, because of its economic weight. The EU must put pressure on it to change its laws,” De Masi said.

The EU list could have a negative effect if the US was omitted, he added.

”That could just motivate business to set up shop in Delaware and Nevada," the German MEP said.

It is the second time the EU has tried to set up a list of tax havens, after one failed attempt which included some of the world's poorest countries, but not Switzerland or America.

That list was published in June 2015, but was taken off the internet after less than six months.

The EU commission hopes to publish the new one before the end of 2017.

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.

Irish government in moral dilemma on Apple tax

Anti-poverty activists in Ireland say the government's decision to appeal an EU commission order for Apple to pay back €13 billion undermines its moral authority.

EU commission wants tax haven blacklist

Blacklist added in wake of Panama leaks to broader proposal to force big companies to reveal tax information. But critics sceptical the EU move will make a difference.

News in Brief

  1. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  2. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed
  3. Greek foreign minister resigns over Macedonia deal
  4. No Brexit backstop means no approval, says EU parliament
  5. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  6. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  7. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  8. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  2. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  3. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  4. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  5. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned
  6. MEPs demand more from EU on human rights in Asia
  7. EU migration solutions are on the table - let's adopt them
  8. No progress at Brexit summit, talks continue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us