The EU Council yesterday announced it was adding Barbados to its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, having assigned the country, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Marshall Islands to a grey list a year ago "following commitments they had taken". It was drawn up after revelations of widespread tax-avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.
Jurisdictions are blacklisted if they have shortfalls in their tax rules that could favour tax evasion in other states.
Vanuatu's Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, hit out against the announcement on Twitter, comparing the list to playing "a game when the rules of the game are always changing, the goalposts are always being shifted and there are several different referees".
The UAE said it has shared a detailed timeline of actions that are now being implemented in accordance with its sovereign legal process and constitutional requirements.
"The UAE remains firmly committed to its long-standing policy of meeting the highest global standards on taxation, including the OECD's requirements, and will continue to update its domestic legislative framework in this regard".
European Union tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the listing process was a great success because it had pushed dozens of countries to abolish "harmful tax regimes".
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also on the draft new list, but Italy and Estonia are opposing listing of the emirates, a document seen by Reuters shows.
The EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was initially proposed in 2016 as a tool for EU member states to avoid external risks of tax abuse.
Romanian Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici holds a news conference after an European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium March 12, 2019.
Last week Britain lifted its veto on the listing of its overseas territory of Bermuda, the documents show.
The EU blacklist originally comprised 17 jurisdictions, including the UAE, but it shrank to five after most listed states committed to change their tax rules.