LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg, (AFP) – The European Union (EU) added Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and the Seychelles to its tax havens blacklist Tuesday, but the anti-poverty group Oxfam slammed the “toothless” list for not including countries like Britain and the United States.
The list, approved by EU finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, now counts 16 jurisdictions deemed non-cooperative for tax purposes, particularly where it comes to sharing tax information.
Countries on the list, which is updated twice a year, face limited sanctions including being frozen out of European aid or development funding.
The EU blacklist already included 13 other territories: American Samoa, Anguilla, Bahamas, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Russia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.
The European Union on Tuesday removed British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica and Marshall Islands from the list.
Oxfam, a UK-based charity campaigning against poverty worldwide, criticised the list because it did not include countries like the United States and Britain.
“For how much longer will the EU persist in this nonsense exercise? The list is toothless,” Chiara Putaturo, Oxfam EU tax expert, said.
“It leaves off the hook zero-tax countries like the British Virgin Islands and fails to screen countries like the US and the UK along with EU tax havens like Luxembourg and Malta,” Putaturo added in a statement.
The EU cannot include its own member states.
The list was created in 2017 in the wake of a series of scandals, including the Panama Papers, that put pressure on Brussels to clamp down on tax evasion by the rich.