ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda, March 20, 2019 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, says the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is being asked to issue a statement, condemning the “attack” by the European Union (EU), on the economies of Caribbean countries, following Europe’s latest list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.
The EU has included several Caribbean countries, namely Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominica and Aruba, on the new list, which it said, was based on an “an intense process of analysis and dialogue, steered by the Commission”.
The Dominica and Belize governments have publicly condemned the EU’s position, and Prime Minister Browne said moves are underway to get CARICOM to issue a statement, indicating that “we deplore the attack and that we will resist it”.
“In the first instance, the European Union has no jurisdiction, they have no right to be issuing any such sanction list. And I see they call it a black list, we also see that as an affront.
“It is prejudicial and what is happening here, is that they are trying to avoid tax competition, they are literally overriding our sovereignty to decide on our rate of tax and trying to recover monies that really do not exist,” Browne articulated.
Last month, CARICOM leaders, at their 30th Inter-sessional summit in St. Kitts-Nevis, said the blacklisting of CARICOM countries, by the European Union (EU), has brought considerable reputational damage to the Community.
“Despite all member states, with the exception of one, being removed from the EU blacklist, the damage inflicted is irreparable and has consequential implications for building Member States’ economic and climate resilience, given their inherent vulnerabilities,” they said in the communiqué, issued at the end of the two-day summit.
The regional leaders said, in this regard, they viewed the EU’s approach, to “tax good governance”, as “inappropriate”.
The EU’s Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici, said “the EU tax havens list is a true European success. It has had a resounding effect on tax transparency and fairness worldwide.
“Thanks to the listing process, dozens of countries have abolished harmful tax regimes and have come into line with international standards on transparency and fair taxation. The countries that did not comply have been blacklisted, and will have to face the consequences that this brings. We are raising the bar of tax good governance, globally, and cutting out the opportunities for tax abuse.”
The EU said that its list has led to changes in global tax practices that would have been unimaginable, only a few years ago.