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EU adds 10 countries, including UAE, to tax blacklist

EU adds 10 countries, including UAE, to tax blacklist
European flags flutter in the wind in front of the EU institutions in Brussels on March 7, 2019. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)

The European Union expanded its tax haven blacklist by 10 countries on Tuesday, adding the United Arab Emirates and Bermuda despite the objections of powerful member states such as Italy.

The list, now 15 countries long, was first drawn up in 2017 in the wake of several scandals, including the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks, that pushed the EU into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.

Seven countries are to be moved back from a grey list because reform commitments had not been met. These are Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu and Dominica, an EU statement said.

They are joined by three other countries whose tax policies have grown more aggressive in the past months. They are Barbados, the United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands.

Italy long resisted the addition of the UAE. The Middle East powerhouse has recently made significant investments in the economically troubled European country.

Rome had wanted to keep the Emirates on the so-called grey list of countries that have made pledges to get their tax laws in order with a standard set by Brussels.

“Everything will be solved” when new legislation in passed in the UAE, Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said.

“The Emirates will come out immediately afterwards,” he added.

The operation in “naming and shaming” countries into better tax policies comes only days after a money-laundering blacklist by the EU was torpedoed by the bloc’s own member governments after it included Saudi Arabia.

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