A meeting took place after Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported that the alpine country was only included after Liechtenstein complained to the EU that it was on draft list but Switzerland was not, reports newswire Reuters.
Liechtenstein leader Adrian Hasler denied that the principality had been involved.
He told Tages-Anzeiger newspaper: “It was neither our suggestion nor our intention that Switzerland get put on the grey list.
“Our intervention aimed to have no grey list published or, if so, that Liechtenstein was judged as conforming [with EU rules] and did not appear on it,” he said, adding that the jurisdiction had every right to defend its national interests.
Senior politicians in Switzerland have had mixed reactions to the country’s inclusion on the grey list, with finance minister Ueli Maurer describing it as “hardly a tragedy” in an interview with newspaper Zentralschweiz am Sonntag.
“I rate the significance of the list as negligible.”
In contrast, head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Johann Schneider-Ammann, told Swiss public radio that he was “irritated” by the move.
The European Council published a blacklist of 17 non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes on 5 December, plus an annex, or ‘grey list’ of 47 others that have promised to meet certain conditions by the end of 2018 to avoid being blacklisted.
The concept of the grey list was not publicly touted when the blacklist was first announced. A spokesperson from the EC has not responded to International Adviser’s queries about whether it was added following last-ditch efforts from jurisdictions that wanted to avoid being blacklisted.
No EU countries were included on the grey list, despite protests from international charity Oxfam that Luxembourg, Ireland, Malta and the Netherlands all fail one of the three criteria set out by the EC.
In addition to Liechtenstein and Switzerland, other European but non-EU jurisdictions on the grey list include: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, FYR Macedonia, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia and Turkey.