Country Rankings - San Marino
Aug 08, 2013 San Marino: survivesSan Marino must be wondering what hit it. A few years ago it was a sleepy backwater with a small but thriving business in warehousing mostly Italian wealth; then along came a tsunami of EU, OECD and Italian regulation and it was unlucky enough to be caught up in the eye of the storm as Italy, perhaps to show off to its own mentors, decided to make an example of it. Now that the dust has settled, there is not much left of San Marino's previous livelihood, and it will have to re-invent itself, if it is able, as a specialist financial services provider. After having done little or nothing to help (I can only imagine what they think of Rome in San Marino) Italy half redeemed itself at the end by signing through a halfway reasonable double tax treaty. Other European one-time "tax havens" have shared a variety of fates, but only Madeira has had it as tough as San Marino, being virtually wiped out by the Portuguese. Spain's Canary Islands and Andorra have played a better game, and have more or less survived, while Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, with the sometimes rather grudging support of the UK, have even thrived. Monaco has kept a low profile under French skirts, while Luxembourg, Malta and Ireland are full members of the EU themselves. Liechtenstein has a kind of semi-detached relationship with the EU, and has been left mostly untouched, while its protector Switzerland is still in the melee, not doing too well because of its attempts to be in the EU while not of it. "He who sups with the devil needs a long spoon."