EU tax-haven blacklist includes UAE and Bahrain, But Oxfam calls EU hypocritical

by The Region   Getty Images  


The EU has published a list of 17 "non-cooperative" tax jurisdictions, which includes the UAE and Bahrain, in an effort to curb tax-avoidance. The blacklist promises concrete action against offending countries accused of being tax havens. the potential action that the supranational body could take includes restrictions on EU funding and Investment, and the reconsideration of diplomatic relations with countries who make it easier for the rich to avoid paying taxes.

The 17 countries on the list are American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the UAE. The list was said to be made on the basis of three main criteria: tax transparency, fair tax competition, and the implementation of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, a system to avoid tax avoidance.

In response to the accusations, the UAE promised to 'maintain' high standards of financial oversight.

"The Government of the United Arab Emirates" read a statement produced by the UAE's Ministry of Finance, "is surprised and disappointed that it has been included by the European Union in a list of non-compliant tax jurisdictions."

But in a report published on the 27th of November, Oxfam slammed the EU list for being selective. In a report entitled blacklist or whitewash, Oxfam argued that "at least 35 non-EU countries should be included in the EU tax haven blacklist, and 4 EU member states: Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta."

Late last year, Oxfam released a report implicating the four EU member states in the worst tax avoidance schemes in the world. On the list, the Netherlands came third, Ireland came 6th, and Luxemburg came 8th as the world's worst tax havens. Both the Netherlands and Ireland, have, for example, provided special tax treatment for Starbucks and Apple. But the EU was reluctant to name its own member states in the blacklist it produced today.

"EU governments must put the interests of their people above those of tax havens and multinational corporations if they are going to close the gap between rich and poor" Oxfam concluded.