The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament wants a cleaning up in the UK’s overseas territories to be a condition of any trade deal with the European Union after Brexit. The call comes as the group launches a new report which argues that the fight against tax havens, tax evasion and tax avoidance must be at the centre of Brexit negotiations.

“The EU must challenge the UK’s tax haven activities and make a reform of the tax system a condition of any future trade agreement with the UK,” said MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group and coordinator in the PANA committee.

He said that avoiding civilised rules on tax was always part of the UK’s Brexit agenda.

“Indeed, both the British prime minister and her chancellor have left no doubt that they plan to align British economic policy with the aim to make the UK the biggest competitor in the international tax race after leaving the EU.”

The practice of zero tax on company profits in essentially all overseas territories must no longer be exploited for international tax dodging, he added.

“As EU member, the UK could defend its tax havens against European tax rules. That will stop now.”

Greens/EFA president Philippe Lamberts added: “The Brexit financial settlement has made plenty of headlines. But the contentious issues around tax will have a far more profound impact on the future economies of both the UK and the EU27.”