Irish Government helps Britain weaken EU tax haven blacklist - Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish Government to inform the public of its position on the European Council relating to the removal of several notorious tax havens from the EU’s tax haven blacklist.
“Media reports this week suggest that another three states are to be taken off the EU’s tax haven blacklist when finance ministers meet in Brussels next week. This removal will leave just six jurisdictions on the blacklist, making the entire exercise an utter joke.
“When the list was announced in December last year, only 17 jurisdictions were on it. The fact that EU Member States were automatically excluded meant the blacklist was farcical from the outset, as several member states are complicit in a huge proportion of the profit-shifting that takes place globally.
“Within weeks, EU finance ministers moved to remove eight countries of the original 17 jurisdictions from the blacklist. The further removal of three more countries next week will leave just six countries on this list – American Samoa, Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago. None of the world’s most notorious tax havens are on it.
“It seems that all jurisdictions have to do to be removed is to make some vague commitment to change their practices, commitments that cannot be examined by the public due to the total lack of transparency of this process.
“Now we know that the Irish government has played an important role in defending the most notorious tax havens in the world. Leaked Council documents show that the Irish representatives consistently backed Britain in its lobbying efforts to keep its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories off the blacklist.
“British lobbying in the Council successfully removed the criterion that having no corporate taxation in place indicated a jurisdiction was a tax haven. So you can have a tax rate of zero, like Bermuda, Jersey and Guernsey, and yet not be considered a tax haven according to this list. Ireland and Luxembourg are named in media reports on the leaked Council documents as two states that have consistently supported Britain in this nonsense.
“The Commission and the Council needs to release the documents and minutes of meetings where the selection process took place and the negotiations that saw some jurisdictions removed from the list. The commitments given to the EU by the so-called grey list of countries who have pledged to implement change in order to avoid being blacklisted also needs to be made public.
“The Irish government needs to publicly reveal the position that it takes in Council relating to this blacklist and explain its justification for doing so.”