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UAE, Tunisia Removed from EU Tax-Haven Blacklist

UAE, Tunisia Removed from EU Tax-Haven Blacklist

Wednesday, 24 January, 2018 - 13:15
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Reuters

The European Union finance ministers have decided to remove eight countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia from a tax haven blacklist.

Ministers say the jurisdictions have committed to making reforms that meet EU standards of tax transparency.

The decision was announced on the sidelines of the meetings of ministers of finance and economy on Tuesday, in Brussels, which lasted two days.

According to a European statement of which Asharq Al-Awsat has received a copy, the removal of these countries from the blacklist is not the end as they are still on the gray list of the Union, which means they are monitored by Brussels.

"I understand that some countries move from the blacklist to the gray list," EU Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters.

"The gray list will be over 50 territories or states, but those commitments they have taken must be made public, so that they are evaluated, they are controlled.”

Barbados, Grenada, South Korea, Macao, Mongolia, and Panama, UAE and Tunisia are the delisted countries "following commitments made at a high political level to remedy EU concerns," according to a statement from the ministers.

The blacklist was only drawn up in December to discourage the most aggressive tax-dodging practices after several disclosures of off-shore schemes.

Ministers said the delisting was a sign that the process was working as countries around the world were agreeing to adopt EU standards on tax transparency.

“Jurisdictions around the world have worked hard to make commitments to reform their tax policies. Our aim is to promote good tax governance globally,” said Vladislav Goranov, finance minister of Bulgaria, which holds the rotating EU presidency.

The blacklist was initially announced by the EU on December 5, 2017. To determine whether a country is a "non-cooperative jurisdiction" the EU index measured the transparency of its tax regime and tax rates.

It also checked whether the tax system encourages multinationals to unfairly shift profits to low tax regimes, avoiding higher duties in other states.

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