European Union reveals first tax haven blacklist

European Union ministers haggled over a credible blacklist of non-EU tax havens, with about 10 countries including Panama and South Korea in danger of being publicly chastised for facilitating tax evasion.

The EU has struggled for over a year to finalise the blacklist, with smaller, low-tax EU nations such as Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg anxious about scaring off multinationals.

The most recent revelations came in the Paradise Papers, a set of leaked documents that showed how corporations, government leaders and prominent people use offshore accounts to avoid taxes or otherwise hide ownership of assets.

Other jurisdictions are understood to have been given leeway after suffering severe damage during hurricanes in the Caribbean earlier this year.

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The list is a result of excessive screening of more third countries before the ministers made up their mind that these 17 non-EU countries will be blacklisted, while another 47 will be included in a separate gray list, to be monitored for their compliance with commitments undertaken. "This list needs to be effective, meaning that it needs to allow us to take sanctions so that those who don't respect rules change their behavior".

This country was also named in the Panama Papers past year. Other states are unwilling to draw up common measures in belief that responsibility is better left to member states.

As the European Commissioner for Tax Pierre Moscovici has repeatedly said during the last period, the list is both dynamic and a way for those countries to forget their bad practices in order to make their way out of this list of shame.

The EU originally screened a total of 92 jurisdictions and once the list is compiled it is expected to be continuously updated. "Given the unfortunate incorporation of the country in this discriminatory list, the Republic of Panama has chose to call its Ambassador to the European Union, Dario Chiru, to assess the steps to be followed moving forward", the government said in a statement.

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The EU is calling on countries with non-transparent tax regimes and structures exclusively created to shield companies' profits from tax to reform their systems.

Explaining the factors that led to the blacklisting of Namibia, Schlettwein said it was simply due to a deadline date miscommunication.

The news comes as the European Union moves to clamp down on tax avoidance by non-compliant countries and discourage the use of shell structures overseas.

Countries in the EU's firing line have been given an opportunity to stay off the list if they provide a political commitment and a detailed plan to comply.

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