As published on independent.ie, Wednesday February 19, 2020.
The European Union should include low-tax member states on its tax haven blacklist, Polish finance minister Tadeusz Koscinski has said in a thinly veiled barb at countries including Ireland.
The EU added the Cayman Islands to its tax haven blacklist yesterday, the first time a British overseas territory has joined a list that includes Panama, Palau and the Seychelles.
It marks a decline in the UK's influence post-Brexit and means the Cayman Islands could face financial sanctions and the loss of tax perks offered by EU member states.
"This sends a clear signal that the idea of turning the UK into a tax haven will not be acceptable to the EU," said Markus Ferber, a German member of the European parliament and the economic and monetary affairs coordinator for the European People's Party.
"If the British government intends to do so, there is a good chance it will end up on the EU's blacklist as well," he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Poland's Mr Koscinski declined to say which EU countries he thinks are tax havens.
"We all know who they are," he told a seminar at the Bruegel Institute in Brussels.
The Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus should be considered tax havens, said Polish Economic Institute director Piotr Arak at the seminar.
Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have dismissed efforts to call them tax havens, pointing to laws which they have adopted to fight tax avoidance.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) led peer review of Ireland has said twice that the country meets tax fairness requirements, a spokesperson for Irish Revenue said in an email.
Ireland has also adopted the OECD's anti-base erosion rules, the spokesperson said.
"Accordingly, there would be no basis whatsoever for including Ireland on the list, were it applicable to EU member states," the spokesperson said.