Brussels —The EU will remove Panama, South Korea and six other countries from its recently unveiled EU tax blacklist at a meeting of finance ministers next week, an EU official said on Tuesday.
"Barring a major surprise, EU finance ministers should remove eight countries from the blacklist of tax havens," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mongolia, Macau, Grenada and Barbados are also to be struck from the list. The reversal comes just a few weeks after the EU announced an original blacklist of 17 non-EU states, which drew furious reaction from several of the states targeted.
The official said the countries removed from the list now move to the EU’s so-called "grey list", countries that have made unspecified commitments to the EU on reforming their tax laws.
The lists came a year on from the leak of the Panama papers — a massive amount of data from a prominent Panamanian law firm showing how the world’s wealthy stash assets.
"This is a worrying trend. Just one month after adopting the list they are taking people off," Aurore Chardonnet, an EU tax policy advisor at Oxfam, told AFP. "They are weakening the credibility of the list ... which is becoming empty."
Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Bahrain, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, American Samoa and Namibia remain on the blacklist.