Romania pushes for delay of EU tax haven blacklist
European Union finance ministers are unlikely to adopt a new blacklist of tax ha...
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union finance ministers are unlikely to adopt a new blacklist of tax havens at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, the meeting chair, Romanian Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, said.
The statement surprised EU officials who expected a final compromise on Tuesday over a decision that requires the backing of all 28 EU states.
The largest review of the blacklist since its adoption in December 2017 is expected to see the number of listed jurisdictions triple from the current five.
Opposition by some EU governments on the inclusion of certain jurisdictions was expected to be overcome at Tuesday’s meeting.
The EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici arrived at the meeting saying that a new list would be adopted. But later Teodorovici told reporters the adoption of the list would be postponed to May.
A European diplomat told Reuters that Romania’s position surprised officials as there was no more reason for a delay because reluctant countries had been convinced to lift their veto.
The presidency has decided “unilaterally and with no good reason” that the list was not ready for adoption, the diplomat said. Talks are still underway to reach a compromise on Tuesday.
France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the tax haven blacklist must be adopted on Tuesday..
Last week EU states blocked the adoption of another blacklist of countries that show deficiencies in countering money laundering and terrorism financing after pressure from Saudi Arabia, the United States and Panama.
EU documents show that Italy and Estonia were the only countries in the 28-nation bloc that objected to the new tax haven list, as they pushed not to add the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
But their objections fell on Tuesday, officials said.
Arriving to the meeting, Italy’s Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said Rome wanted to give more time to the UAE to adopt legislation that would allow it to comply with EU tax standards.
Asked whether he would lift his veto on UAE listing, he said: “Our opinion does not change but we will take into account the positions of other states,” he said, adding that if the UAE was listed, the country would quickly be delisted once its new legislation is adopted.
Last week Britain had lifted its veto on the listing of its overseas territory of Bermuda, EU documents seen by Reuters show.
- EU tax haven blacklist must be adopted on Tuesday: France's Le Maire
The EU blacklist originally comprised 17 jurisdictions, including the UAE, but shrank to five after most listed states committed to change their tax rules. The list currently comprises Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and three U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Bermuda, EAU, Aruba, Oman and Barbados are among the jurisdictions that are expected to be added to the updated list.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Philip Blenkinsop