Selin ATAY-TDO- European Union finance ministers agreed to remove the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and Mauritius from the bloc’s lists of countries deemed to be acting as tax havens, a move that activists called a “whitewash”.

At the meeting of the economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), which brings together the finance ministers of 28 EU member states, The European Union removed seven countries from its blacklist of tax havens, the bloc's finance ministers said in a statement on Thursday

 The United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands were removed from the blacklist that covered jurisdictions that have failed to collaborate with the EU on tax matters, while Switzerland was among the five countries struck from the so-called "grey list " in which countries are provided with recommendations to bring their tax transparency standards into line with international norms.

"The UAE and the Marshall Islands have both passed the necessary reforms to implement the commitments they had made to improve their tax policy framework by introducing economic substance requirements," said the statement.

"Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Serbia and Switzerland have implemented ahead of their deadline all necessary reforms to comply with the EU tax good governance policy," the finance ministers said.

Only nine countries and territories remain on the EU’s blacklist on tax matters:  American Samoa, Belize, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States Virgin Islands and Vanuatu. Those countries on the blacklist had provided no such commitment to the EU.

It had started the process of setting a list of 'EU tax havens' in 2017, after it emerged that a large number of companies and individuals were evading tax using off-shore accounts.

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