Friday

2nd Dec 2022

Cyprus to give EU journalists free bank accounts

The incoming Cypriot EU presidency is to give Brussels-based journalists free offshore bank accounts to defend the island's reputation as a tax haven.

Back before the financial crisis, presidencies used to give the Brussels press corps little souvenirs of their time at the EU helm, such as a USB stick or a tie in the colours of the national flag.

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

Then it all stopped - Denmark even served tap water at media events to mark the age of austerity.

Now, with the financial crisis over, Cyprus, which begins its EU presidency in July, is to revive the custom with a goodie bag containing something useful - documents that give each reporter access to his or her own offshore account in Ruskicomercbanka, a firm domiciled in Koufalitsa Street, Nicosia.

"We chose a Russian-owned bank to celebrate our history of co-operation with Russian oligarchs. We also wanted to thank Moscow for that no-strings-attached bail-out," Cypriot spokesman Stavros Aprilfoolodopoulos told EUobserver, referring to Russia's offer last year of a €2.5 billion loan.

He noted that many reporters make a bit on the side by freelancing, but Belgian income tax is quite high.

He added that it normally takes a few hundred euros and a bit of annoying paperwork to set up an account in Cyprus.

Meanwhile, with Nicosia recently agreeing to anti-tax-avoidance rules in the Paris-based economic club, the OECD, and pledging allegiance to the European Commission's new-and-improved savings tax directive, its EU presidency gift also has another side.

"People are starting to say: 'Hold on. Maybe they are serious about stopping tax cheats? Maybe we should go to Panama or somewhere instead?'," the Cypriot spokesman explained.

"With this small gesture, we want EU press to tell the world: 'Relax. Cyprus might sign this or that bit of paper. But in reality, it's business as usual'."

Cyprus to get 'no strings attached' Russian bail-out

Eurozone member Cyprus is set to join Greece, Ireland and Portugal by seeking external aid to prop-up its finances. But unlike the EU and IMF bailout packages, its loan is to come from Russia with "no strings attached".

Cyprus best place to bathe in the EU

The quality of bathing waters at the seaside and by rivers and lakes is gradually decreasing, with Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece scoring best, while beaches in Romania, Poland and Belgium are deemed worst, an EU report shows.

Opinion

EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals

This global tax rate for multinationals could yield up to €64bn annually. Yet, the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orbán has been blocking it for months. The impotency of the EU to strike a deal is irresponsible and incomprehensible.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us