The Socialists and Democrats welcome the updated blacklist* of tax havens approved by EU finance ministers today and call for EU member states to also fight their unprincipled own tax schemes to lead by example.
Pervenche Berès, S&D Group spokesperson on economic and monetary affairs, said:
"The EU list of tax havens starts showing results. While many countries have repealed their dodgy tax schemes, allowing companies to drastically reduce their tax contributions, notable tax havens are finally making it to the EU list, such as Bermuda or Barbados. It shows it is not enough to commit to change, but that tax havens need to actually reform to exit the list. The Socialists and Democrats have vocally asked for the listing process and commitments made by tax havens to be more transparent and welcomes the initiative from EU countries to release more information to the public. Clearly, public disclosure has helped reinforcing the pressure to deliver.
“However, we still regret that the Council has not yet improved the listing criteria, such as including a 0% or absence of corporate tax as a stand-alone criterion. What country on earth that has a 0% tax rate is not a tax haven?
"While the EU is surely showing a strong leadership in an attempt to end tax havens, it is now time for the EU to also lead by example. There are well-known tax havens within the EU, harming both third countries and EU member states' tax collection, as recent European Semester country reports have shown. Last week, NGOs were also highlighting that five EU member states could fail the criteria on fair taxation if they were to be assessed by the EU. We must face our own reality and put our own house in order.
"The S&D Group has always called for strong and deterrent sanctions, such as withholding taxes, exclusion from public procurement calls or withdrawal of business licences for the intermediaries and companies proved to be involved in blacklisted tax havens. We remain disappointed that no strong and joint sanctions are imposed yet. We continue to call on EU countries to join their effort to increase the impact of the listing process and impose specific sanctions on financial operators and companies which profit from tax havens, without harming the local population of these countries."
Notes for the editors
* EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions: In addition to the 5 jurisdictions that were already - American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and US Virgin Islands, the revised EU list now also includes the following 10 jurisdictions: Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Oman, United Arabic Emirates, and Vanuatu. This list of non-cooperative jurisdictions focuses on "tax havens", while another EU blacklist of third countries in line with the Anti-Money Laundering Directive will be discussed tonight in the European Parliament's plenary with vote on Thursday.