Panama Papers: EU Commission urges EU deal on list of tax havens in next six months

Mr Pierre Moscovici gives a press conference on VAT Action Plan and the so-called Panama Papers leak in Brussels, Belgium on April 7, 2016.
Mr Pierre Moscovici gives a press conference on VAT Action Plan and the so-called Panama Papers leak in Brussels, Belgium on April 7, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union states should agree on a common list of tax havens in the next semester and impose sanctions on countries that hide EU-taxable revenues, the EU's executive said on Thursday (April 7), pursuing tax plans in the wake of the Panama leaks.

Currently EU states have broadly different national lists of so-called non-cooperative jurisdictions on tax matters and are free to decide whether to impose restrictive measures.

"We need now a true European list of non-cooperative jurisdictions," EU tax and economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters in Brussels.

"I want this list of tax havens in the next six months at the latest," Mr Moscovici added, urging an acceleration of legislation to that end.

The move comes after last weekend's leak of more than 11.5 million documents from Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca that exposed how politicians and businessmen use shell companies in tax havens to reduce their taxes.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, announced in January plans to set up a common list of tax havens and joint EU measures to sanction non-cooperative countries.

But legislative proposals on tax issues face enormous hurdles in the EU as countries often have differing interests and the unanimity of the 28 EU states is required to turn proposals into law.