Today, European Finance Ministers will adopt their conclusions on strategic priorities in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. In its conclusions, the Council encourages the European Commission to take steps to improve cooperation between the competent national anti-money laundering authorities. This includes the replacement of certain provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive with a directly applicable EU Regulation. In particular, the Finance Ministers invite the EU Commission to examine the establishment of a European Coordination Unit for suspicious transaction reports (“European FIU”) and a European Anti-Money Laundering Authority. The Council thus follows the initiative of Olaf Scholz and five other EU Finance Ministers who promoted a dedicated EU authority against money laundering in a joint position paper. Driven by the Greens/EFA group, the European Parliament has long been calling for a triad of FIU, anti-money laundering authority and financial police at EU level.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“The conclusions of the Finance Ministers are an important step forward in the fight against money laundering. This paves the way for a truly European approach to combating financial crime. The repeated money laundering scandals in Europe threaten fair competition and are a security risk. A European coordination body and a European anti-money laundering authority are the right approach. However, one element is still missing in the Finance Ministers’ package. We also need a European financial police force to prosecute cross-border money laundering cases. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for this European triad in response to the money laundering scandals of recent years. The EU Member States must also urgently strengthen their cooperation in police investigations. Joint investigation teams against cross-border financial crime would already be possible within the framework of Europol.
The European governments rightly call on the Commission to replace the European Anti-money Laundering Directive with a directly applicable Regulation. However, new proposals by the EU Commission must not distract from today’s inadequate enforcement of existing European law in the Member States. The EU Commission should initiate infringement proceedings also against Germany for not enforcing EU provisions on anti-money laundering. We do not need further interim reports, but concrete measures against money laundering and terrorist financing.”
Link to the Draft Conclusions of the Finance Ministers on the strategic priorities in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing: