On 13 February, the EU Commission presented a new blacklist of 23 high-risk countries for money laundering and terrorist financing. The Commission adopted the list in the form of a Delegated Regulation. The European Parliament and the Council of Member States are given one month for approval of the blacklist, with a possible one-month extension. Once approved, the Delegated Regulation containing the blacklist will be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days after its publication. The UK, France, Germany and other member are trying to find a qualified majority to block the important list. On my suggestion the coordinators in the TAX3 committee decided this Tuesday to trigger an “early non-rejection procedure” for the blacklist.
The Commission issued the first such list in 2016 and updated it subsequently in the last years. Since the adoption of the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, the criteria against which a third country is assessed have been substantially extended. For the first time the EU has gone further in the fight against money laundering than the not satisfactory compromises in the FATF. The EU Parliament, above all the Greens, had repeatedly called on the Commission to carry out its own assessment of third countries.
The blacklist comprising 23 high-risk third countries presented by the Commission can be found in the Annex of the Delegated Regulation complementing the Fifth Anti-money laundering Directive:
It is ironic that the United States of America are now putting pressure on the EU to abstain from tougher anti-money laundering controls going beyond FATF criteria. It is thanks to US leadership against money laundering that several banks in the EU could be closed. Therefore, it constitutes a double standard that the United States lobby against something they do themselves with success.
The blacklist of 23 high-risk third countries is the result of the EU Commission’s screening of 54 countries identified as priority countries with regard to strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes. Further assessments will be carried out over time to cover all relevant countries (Priority 2 countries).
The Commission published the names of the ”priority 1 countries” as well as its screening methodology:
However, the Commission did not publish its assessments of the 54 “priority 1 countries” screened so far. Therefore, I filed an access to documents request at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST) asking the Commission to disclose the so-called “country fiches” of all countries screened including but not limited to the 23 countries finally blacklisted. The Commission must respond promptly and normally no later than March 06, 2019. You can follow my documents request here:
I appeal to the European Commission to publish the assessments as soon as possible.