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Responses to new European Union Commission 'blacklist'

Thursday, 18 June, 2015

EU Commission Blacklist

The Commission of the European Union released yesterday a list of 30 'non-cooperative' jurisdictions which it claims to not meet its standards of transparency, exchange of information, and fair tax competition.

The list appeared unexpectedly along with the launch of the Commission's new action plan against cross-border corporate tax avoidance. It is said to be based on EU member states' own assessments of non-EU financial centres as of December last year. Any jurisdiction that appears on at least ten member states' blacklists is on the Commission's consolidated list.

The list names Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brunei, Cook Islands, Grenada, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Monaco, Montserrat, Nauru, Niue, Panama, Seychelles, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, and Vanuatu.

The European commissioner for economic affairs, Pierre Moscovici, said the publication of the blacklist was a 'decisive step', aimed at 'pushing non-cooperative non-EU jurisdictions to be more cooperative and adopt international standards'.

However, Cayman's Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton said it was 'unfortunate that the EU blacklist unfairly downplays the significant strides made by Cayman'. He said the listing was based on comments from European Union countries that were not Cayman's major trading partners.

Guernsey's Chief Minister, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, said the list appeared to have been 'hurriedly put together using some very arbitrary criteria'. He has written to Moscovici demanding to have Guernsey removed from it as soon as possible.

The list only addresses non-EU jurisdictions, so that EU member states with which the Commission has had tax-related disputes – notably Luxembourg and Ireland – are not on it.

Sources