The European Union’s decision to include the United Arab Emirates on its blacklist of tax havens was due to “lack of communication” between the EU and the UAE government, the head of the UAE Banks Federation said on Wednesday.
“We need to reach out, I understand the reasons, and I’m sure the UAE will want to play as a global citizen,” the banking group’s chairman Abdulaziz al-Ghurair told reporters. “And I’m sure in the near future this will be solved.”
Previously, European Union governments adopted a broadened blacklist of tax havens on Tuesday, adding the United Arab Emirates and British and Dutch overseas territories in a revamp that tripled the number of listed jurisdictions.
The measure comes more than one year after the bloc decided to blacklist jurisdictions that are non-cooperative on tax matters and to monitor countries that commit to change their tax rules to comply with EU standards.
The new list has been broadened to 15 jurisdictions, including the UAE, Oman, the British territory of Bermuda, and other Caribbean and Pacific islands, the official said.
Jurisdictions are added to the tax haven blacklist if they have shortfalls in their tax rules that could favor tax evasion. They are removed from the blacklist if they commit to reforms.
Sixty-two jurisdictions around the world have committed to abiding by the tax standards set by Brussels. Most of them were required to overhaul their rules by December or February.
The 28 EU member states have not been screened as they already fulfill the criteria, the European Commission said. But tax campaigners and EU lawmakers have accused some of them of acting as tax havens.
The EU Parliament’s committee on financial crime said in a report adopted last week that Luxembourg, Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Malta and the Netherlands “display traits of a tax haven and facilitate aggressive tax planning”.