European Union removes UAE from blacklist of tax havens
10 Oct 2019
The United Arab Emirates was given a clean bill of health. File photo
The European Union (EU) removed the UAE and Switzerland from its list of tax havens on Thursday, giving two global hubs for multinational tax schemes the all-clear.
The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, was given a clean bill of health, lifted out directly from the blacklist after rushing through reforms.
"Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Serbia and Switzerland have implemented ahead of their deadline all necessary reforms to comply with EU tax good governance principles," the bloc's 28 finance ministers said.
The EU's grey list has included Switzerland since its launch in December 2017 as the country was deemed as having inadequate tax rules, although it had expressed commitment to reform them.
"If Switzerland is off this list, it is a success for me. The best list is the shortest," said Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, at a press conference in Luxembourg.
Switzerland had approved a tax reform in October 2018, but its entry into force had been delayed due to a referendum.
The 28 EU finance ministers drew up the lists – that followed several scandals including Panama Papers and LuxLeaks – in the hopes of "naming and shaming" countries into better combating tax evasion by multinationals and wealthy individuals.
Blacklisted countries face only limited sanctions, consisting of freezing them out of European aid or development funding.