Comprehensive approach is necessary to fight money laundering in EU

The European Commission has made a clear commitment to deliver a comprehensive approach to fighting money laundering and terrorism financing, to better protect the European Union economy and financial system in the future, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said at the European Parliament plenary debate on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing on July 8th.

“The Commission fully shares the European Parliament’s view that it is high time to create an effective enforcement policy in this field, where all the pieces fall together, and where the roles of the private sector, the competent authorities in the Member States and in the EU are clearly set out,” said Dombrovskis.

The Commission’s action plan on a comprehensive policy for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, adopted on May 7, sets out the measures that the Commission will undertake over the next twelve months to better enforce, supervise and coordinate the EU’s rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim is to shut down any remaining loopholes and remove any weak links in the EU’s existing rules, Dombrovskis emphasized.

In terms of next steps, Dombrovskis would like a new EU AML supervisory body to conduct systematic on-site checks in member countries. An EU supervisory body would require direct supervisory powers over the riskiest financial institutions, and with oversight for the non-financial sector. Different options for such EU supervision are possible. “We may propose a new EU agency, or add to the responsibilities of the European Banking Authority, depending on the feedback we get and on our own assessment,” Dombrovskis explained.

“Our work towards better preventing and fighting money laundering will be supported by strengthening the mandates of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Europol and Eurojust. But also through better protection of whistleblowers through the transposition of the new comprehensive regime that Member States will need to transpose by the end of next year,” said Dombrovskis.

The way rules are currently implemented is not optimal for legitimate businesses. Clearer and risk-based rules will avoid companies facing unexpected consequences due to the divergences in the way rules are applied. Our rules should not make life harder for honest operators, stressed Dombrovskis.

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