Pandora Papers: Parliament Calling for Investigations and Improvement of EU Blacklist of Tax Havens
On 21 October 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for thorough investigations to be launched into any wrongdoing that took place in EU jurisdictions as revealed by the Pandora Papers. After the Pandora Papers had exposed tax avoidance on an unprecedented scale, MEPs wanted to close loopholes currently allowing tax avoidance, money laundering, and tax evasion.
The MEPs stressed the importance of implementing already existing rules and are calling for better cooperation among national authorities across the EU. They criticised that numerous Member States are behind in the implementation of existing rules intended to counteract money laundering and tax avoidance, calling for legal action to be taken by the Commission against these EU countries.
The MEPs asked the Commission to analyse whether further legislation needs to be proposed and to establish whether legal action against some Member States is warranted. The MEPs also asked the European Public Prosecutor to assess whether the revelations merit any specific investigations.
In regard to the Pandora Papers, the MEPs label the current EU blacklist of tax havens a “blunt instrument,” which is unable to catch some of the worst-offending countries. They put forward the fact that the British Virgin Islands account for two thirds of the shell companies in the Pandora Papers and yet they did not feature on the EU blacklist. The MEPs therefore propose improving the listing process (e.g. widening the scope of practices considered typical markers of a tax haven and reforming the process of deciding which jurisdictions are to be included).