When Europe’s finance ministers sit down to a working breakfast in Brussels on Tuesday, after deciding whether to order the continental or the full English, the British delegation will be faced with an even tougher decision.
Chancellor Philip Hammond and his counterparts will be asked to approve a list of those countries, island states and former colonies which the European Union has deemed to be “non-cooperative jurisdictions”. Put more plainly, the EU will be announcing a blacklist of tax havens.
Coming as it does less than a month after the publication of the Paradise Papers – an investigation by the Guardian and 95 partners worldwide into a leak of 13.4 million files from two offshore service providers – the announcement is hotly anticipated. Campaigners, lobbyists and politicians on both sides of the offshore debate are on tenterhooks.
For the kind of small island economies whose GDP