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To stop tax havens like Cayman Islands from getting off the hook, S&Ds push for tougher criteria


10 Dec 2020


Euro & Finance

Today, the European Parliament’s economic committee is sending a strong call to the Commission and Council to reform the EU’s tax havens list. MEPs vote on the first-ever resolution from the newly established permanent tax matters sub-committee, for which the Socialists and Democrats had pushed hard. The resolution demands greater transparency and stricter criteria for the EU’s tax haven list, as well as real consequences for tax havens.

Pedro Marques, MEP and S&D spokesperson on tax matters, said:

“The current EU tax havens list lets the worst offenders off the hook. Notorious tax havens like Switzerland, Hong Kong or Jersey never even made it on the list and the Cayman Islands was struck off the list in a shocking decision last October.

“To identify tax havens better, the European Parliament’s tax sub-committee has now designed a tool with teeth. Firstly, we must include sharper economic indicators, such as a minimum effective tax rate. Today, even a country with a zero tax rate like the Cayman Islands is not listed as a tax haven. To end this scandal, all countries with a zero tax rate must automatically be put on the list. Only a minimum effective tax rate will put a floor on tax competition. Secondly, the transparency of the whole procedure needs to be beefed up.  At the moment, the Code of Conduct Group – which is tasked with screening tax havens – meets behind closed doors and there is little public scrutiny. We call for greater involvement from the European Parliament in the process to ensure proper scrutiny and more transparency.”

Paul Tang, S&D MEP, author of the resolution and chair of the tax matters sub-committee, said:

“The EU will only ever be credible as a leader for tax justice when it puts its own house in order. This is why we want EU countries to be subject to the same rules and criteria as other countries.  With this resolution, the tax sub-committee has committed itself to scrutinising EU tax havens and proposing improvements in their tax policies where needed.

“We can no longer let tax havens walk away with our legitimate income. To take good care of our elderly citizens and build a good future for our young people, we simply cannot afford to lose tax revenues that rightly belong to society.  And that is especially true now in the pandemic. If third countries fail to tax European companies, EU governments must make themselves the tax collector of last resort. With our proposals we can transform the EU tax haven blacklist into a robust tool for fighting tax abuse and tax crime. We call on the Commission and Council to join our fight and deliver tax justice for our citizens.”

Note to the editors: The resolution will be voted on by the full plenary of the European Parliament in January 2021.