The EU has formally welcomed Jersey’s work to fight tax avoidance on day one of Chief Minister Ian Gorst’s joint trip to Brussels with his Guernsey counterpart.
The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs - who once placed Jersey on a tax haven "black list" - has released a statement after meeting Senator Gorst and his opposite number from Guernsey. In the statement, the Commissioner said the work that Jersey had done was “very much welcome” and backed their commitment to automatic exchange of information.
The announcement by Pierre Moscovici – a former French Minister of Finance in Francois Hollande’s Socialist government – is the most positive recognition yet by the EU of the steps that Jersey has taken to fight tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. While he was Finance Minister in France in 2013, the Commissioner placed Jersey on a 'black list', labelling it an unco-operative tax haven, but removed the Island from the list a year later.
Senator Gorst was delighted by Commissioner Moscovici’s statement, which he said showed that the Island was being recognised among the most senior figures in the EU as a leader in financial standards.
The full statement from Commissioner Moscovici said: “I very much welcome the active engagement of the Channel Islands in the key initiatives involved in the fight against tax evasion, fraud and abusive tax avoidance in which they are important partners of the EU.
“Their commitment to the adoption of the Common Reporting Standard on automatic exchange of information, alongside the EU Member States, is particularly positive.”
The Commissioner, a former MEP who served as Finance Minister in France from 2014 – has a remit at the EU that includes deepening economic and monetary union within the EU, reviewing “fiscal and macroeconomic surveillance legislation” and fighting tax fraud and tax evasion.
Responding to Commissioner Moscovici’s statement, Senator Gorst said: “I emphasised to Commissioner Moscovici the importance of using objective, international standards when assessing good governance by third countries such as Jersey and Guernsey on tax matters.
“The Channel Islands continue to meet the highest international standards on tax transparency, and it is positive that we are able to ensure that message is heard at the very senior levels of the European Commission.”
After the meeting with the Commissioner, Senator Gorst and Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq – the Chief Minister of Guernsey – also met with the Dutch Permanent Representative to the EU for Brussels. The Dutch take over the rotating presidency next year.
Also on their agenda for the next two days are meetings with members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, the UK Ambassador to the EU and the Ambassador to the EU of Luxembourg.
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