EU should not let its own member states off the hook
Tax havens blacklist
The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament has today welcomed a report from Oxfam, which sets out an alternative EU tax haven blacklist (1). The report comes ahead of next week’s meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) to agree on the EU’s official tax havens blacklist. While the EU will look only at countries outside the EU, Oxfam also applied the same methodology to EU countries.
Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokespersons of the Greens/EFA group, comments:
“Given the staggering number of tax scandals in recent years, it is important that the EU sets out a strong and credible tax havens black list. The finance ministers of the member states must not let political considerations cloud their judgement when agreeing their final list next week.
“It sorely undermines the EU’s credibility that the forthcoming list will exclude EU member states. Oxfam’s research shows that Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands all meet the EU’s own criteria. It is correct that the EU will name and shame tax havens, but it needs to put its own house is order too. At least the screening process should be applied to all countries equally. EU tax havens should not be let off the hook. The criteria should be applied rigorously to all countries. It is worrying to hear rumours that Switzerland and the United States of America shall not appear on the list”
Greens/EFA economic and finance spokesperson and member of inquiry committee on the Panama Papers Molly Scott Cato adds:
“Given the revelations of the recent Paradise Papers, it is not surprising to see many of the UK crown dependencies and overseas territories on Oxfam’s list of the worst global tax offenders. The British government needs to take action to end their poisonous tax secrecy and the EU needs to be clear that it will not sign a free trade agreement with the UK until this situation is addressed.
“The inquiry into the Panama Papers has already set out a strong set of proposals to tackle money laundering and tax dodging. There are many who would like to keep the tax dodging business as it stands and will seek to water down the report's recommendations. I urge MEPs to hold strong and take this opportunity to deliver a powerful blow for tax justice.”
(1) The Oxfam report is available here: https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-11-27/effective-eu-tax-haven-blacklist-must-include-least-35-countries
The plenary vote on the report of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) will take place in the next plenary in Strasbourg (11-14 December). You can see a summary of the main Greens/EFA recommendations in the PANA report on our website.