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EU's Tax Blacklist Lacks Legitimacy Without Transparency: MEPs

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

25 January 2018

Greens/EFA members of the European Parliament have called on the EU Code of Conduct Group to be more transparent about the criteria it used to create the EU's new blacklist of non-cooperative territories and how it will manage it going forward.

The group, which has in recent years been heavily involved in tax fairness lobbying, including pushing for probes into the affairs of specific multinational companies, is arguing that the lack of transparency surrounding the list is undermining its legitimacy.

Eight jurisdictions were removed from the EU list on January 23 after the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers – ECOFIN – decided those eight jurisdictions had made sufficient commitments that would remedy EU concerns.

Following the meeting, the group wrote to the Council Presidency and the Chair of the Code of Conduct Group to demand disclosure. Greens/EFA MEP Molly Scott Cato said: "Only full transparency can restore confidence in the blacklisting process. [The January 23] decision further undermines the credibility of what was already a dubious list. It is welcome that these jurisdictions have apparently made commitments to clean up their act on tax. However, we cannot be expected to accept their seriousness on good faith. We need to see the details if we are to hold them to account."

She added that "by refusing to consider its own member states, the EU has opened itself up to accusations of hypocrisy and complacency, especially when countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, and Malta could be considered tax havens by the EU's own criteria. But the biggest problem lies in the complete lack of transparency over how these decisions are made. Until the Code of Conduct group shows their working on compiling and managing this list, it will always be suspect. The Council must reveal exactly what action been promised by these countries and publish the assessments used to determine who comes off the list."

TAGS: Finance | tax | Ireland | Malta | Netherlands | mining | European Union (EU) | Europe | BEPS

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