European Union flags are seen outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 14, 2018. REUTERS-Francois Lenoir-File Photo
Reuters

The European Union on Friday removed the islands of Aruba, Barbados and Bermuda from its tax haven blacklist, just two months after they were placed on the list for failing to cooperate with the bloc’s efforts to crack down on tax avoidance.

The decision leaves 12 jurisdictions on the list: American Samoa, Belize, Dominica, Fiji, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

“Barbados has made commitments at a high political level to remedy EU concerns,” the bloc’s foreign ministers said in a statement, while Aruba and Bermuda had both implemented commitments made.

According to the statement, Barbados and Bermuda have been moved to a so-called grey list of several dozen countries whose commitments are being monitored closely, while Aruba is fully in the clear.

The Oxfam anti-poverty advocacy group criticised the move.

“EU governments have, once again, let some of the world’s worst tax havens off the hook.

“The reforms agreed by Bermuda, Barbados and Aruba will not stop them operating as tax havens,” Oxfam’s Chiara Putaturo said.

The EU’s blacklist system was set up in 2017 as part of a broader crackdown.

The crackdown was on tax avoidance following revelations such as the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers on the use of legal loopholes for firms and individuals to avoid paying taxes.

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