Friday

16th Apr 2021

Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium escape tax blacklist

  • Luxembourg: not a tax haven, according to the OECD, which also put Russia on a "white" list (Photo: EUobserver)

EU countries Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as non-EU member Switzerland, have not been put on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) blacklist of non-co-operative financial centres.

Instead, they figure on a so-called "grey" list of eight countries that "have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, but have not yet substantially implemented" it.

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

In addition, Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are listed among the 30 "tax havens" that also have yet to "substantially implement" the international tax standards.

Following mounting pressure from both sides of the Atlantic to crack down on non-cooperating tax zones that profit by taking in capital owned by companies and wealthy individuals from abroad, many of those territories had announced a relaxation of their banking secrecy laws in the last months.

Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Andorra all made declarations in March vowing to better comply with international standards.

The OECD put four countries - Costa Rica, Malaysia, the Philippines and Uruguay - on its blacklist, saying they had "not committed to the internationally agreed tax standard."

The organisation made its lists public following the commitment of G20 leaders earlier on Thursday (2 April) to act against tax havens.

"We have agreed that there will be an end to tax havens that do not transfer information upon request," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was reported as saying at the end of the G20 summit.

"The banking secrecy of the past must come to an end."

A final OECD "white list" named the 40 countries that have "substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard," such as the US, Russia, China and Turkey, but also most EU states – including France, the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.

"Recent developments reinforce the status of the OECD standard as the international benchmark and represent significant steps towards a level playing field," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria stated after the lists were released.

"I am confident that we can turn these new commitments into concrete actions to strengthen the integrity and transparency of the financial system," he added.

Luxembourg tax scandal may prompt EU action

An investigation into Luxembourg's tax regime has uncovered how the Italian mafia, the Russian underworld, and billionaires attempt to stash away their wealth. The European Commission has put itself on standby amid suggestions changes to EU law may be needed.

Investigation

Portugal vs Germany clash on EU corporate tax avoidance

Portugal's taking over the EU presidency puts the tax transparency law for corporations - which has been fought over for years - to a vote in the Council of Ministers. The resistance of the German government has failed.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

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 MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us