The EU blacklist of tax havens is only a first step; jurisdictions must respect their commitments, say S&Ds

island and tree and eradicate tax havens under it

The Socialists and Democrats welcomed the blacklist of tax havens approved by EU finance ministers but warned the member states about the need to seriously follow-up on commitments and deplore the absence of dissuasive sanctions.

S&D Group spokeswoman on economic and monetary affairs, Pervenche Berès MEP, said:

“The Socialists and Democrats have been working for many years to get a European blacklist of tax havens. The EU is confirming its leadership by improving international rules to fight tax evasion and tax avoidance.

“However, we deeply regret that the Council has watered down the listing criteria proposed by the European Commission which was credible and ambitious.

“These criteria ended up by excluding de facto any EU member states.

“As for the grey list, the reform pledges made by jurisdictions to avoid being blacklisted must now be followed by actions. Commitments in writing are not enough; there should be clear deadlines on when this should enter into force. And, if deadlines are not respected, countries should be blacklisted. The EU needs to define quickly a precise calendar for the monitoring process and the update of the lists, which should be done before next summer.”

S&D Group spokesperson on the Panama Papers inquiry committee, Peter Simon MEP, added:

"The S&D Group has always called for strong and deterrent sanctions, such as withholding taxes, exclusion from public procurement calls, withdrawal of business licences for the jurisdictions, the intermediaries and companies proved to be involved in blacklisted tax havens.

"It is disappointing that no sanctions are imposed yet. Even the best blacklist is useless if it is not backed by dissuasive measures.

“Furthermore, tax havens inside the EU are missing as well. If we want to fight tax avoidance credibly on a global stage, we must also put our own house in order. Why should we care about states inside of our Union that have turned stealing our taxes into their business model? Solidarity is not a one-way road!"