Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



Turkey obtains a new reprieve from the EU and avoids the black list of tax havens

Turkey remains on the grey list of tax havens (photo: F.Dubessy)
Turkey remains on the grey list of tax havens (photo: F.Dubessy)
TURKEY / EU. Discussions on the European black and grey lists of tax havens have been removed from the agenda of the informal meeting of European finance ministers (Ecofin) held on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

The black list, created in December 2017 and revised every six months (February and October), identifies countries and territories using abusive tax practices according to international standards and not meeting the criteria for tax data exchange with the EU. Twelve countries are currently included in the list* and ten are on the grey list**, which includes countries that have made progress but do not yet meet the requirements for tax cooperation, such as Turkey, Morocco and Jordan. On October 6, 2020, when last updated, Anguilla was moved from the grey list to the black list, Barbados was added to the black list while the Cayman Islands and Oman were removed. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mongolia had also been removed from the grey list.

This removal highlights the case of Turkey. Threatened with being placed on the black list, it should therefore finally remain on the grey list.


New postponement

A deadline had already been granted to Turkey in February 2020, until December 31, 2021, on pain of being blacklisted.  The EU even demanded significant progress on its part to meet international tax standards. If these commitments have still not been respected - Ankara speaks of technical problems in verifying the fiscal citizenship of seven million Turks residing in Europe -, several member states want to be conciliatory. First of all Germany, but also Belgium. While others, such as France, Greece, Cyprus (not recognized by Turkey), Austria and Denmark raise their voices.

The lack of unanimity among the Twenty-Seven will lead to a new postponement, leaving Turkey until October 2021 (next revision of the black list) to move forward. The dossier will be examined on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, at the level of ambassadors, then the Ministers of Foreign Affairs will give their decision, which should come as no surprise on Monday, February 22, 2021.

* American Samoa, Anguilla, Barbados, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Seychelles

** Australia, Botswana, Eswatini, Jordan, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Saint Lucia, Thailand, Turkey


Eric Apim

Thursday, February 18th 2021

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