30 May 2018
The Council of the EU has removed the Bahamas and Saint Kitts and Nevis from its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, following commitments to remedy EU concerns.
EU experts have assessed their commitments and the jurisdictions have now been upgraded from the blacklist (annex I) to the grey list (annex II), which cites countries that have taken what the EU considers to be “sufficient commitments to reform their tax policies.”
“Implementation of their commitments will be carefully monitored by the working group responsible for the listing process [the ‘code of conduct group’],” a Council statement said.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, “without discussion.”
Following the development, the blacklist, which was first published in December 2017, has been reduced to seven jurisdictions from 17.
The remaining states are American Samoa, Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands.
Whereas the list is revised at least once a year, the code of conduct group can recommend an update at any time, the Council said.
The EU’s blacklisting system has been strongly criticised by some European parliamentarians who have called for a review into the procedure.
There has also been criticism of the quick reduction of the number of countries on the blacklist.
Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council presidency said, however: “Having fewer jurisdictions on the list is a measure of the success of the listing process.”
“As jurisdictions around the world work to reform their tax policies, our challenge for the rest of the year will be to see that their commitments have been correctly implemented.”
The Bahamas welcomed the news, saying it was a result of cooperation by its various ministers and their teams, who worked alongside the the Bahamas Financial Services Board and the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies to address the issue.
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