Renew Europe lays the foundations for a clearly empowered and well-funded EU authority to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in Europe

Author: Alberto Cuena Vilches



Money laundering landscape 1

The Renew Europe Group embraces today´s adoption of the anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing terrorism (CFT) legislative package, which aims to introduce an EU single rulebook to enhance processes for detecting suspicious transactions and activity, while closing existing loopholes that criminals exploit to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the European financial system. Endorsed in a joint vote of the ECON-LIBE committees, this legislative package is also essential to ensure the proper enforcement and implementation of the unfolding sanctions against Russia.

Thanks to the undisputed leadership of the Renew Europe team during the negotiations, the new legal framework clarifies the access to the information contained in the registers of beneficial ownership within the limits set by the European Court of Justice. Likewise, our political group, which is a strong advocate of the fight against fraud and financial crime, has introduced limits to cash payments and ensured the transparency of information regarding persons owning or controlling companies.

At the heart of this legislative package is the creation of a European authority to serve as the focal point of an integrated system of national AML/CFT authorities, a unique opportunity to tackle the current shortcomings in EU supervision, which was so far highly fragmented and inefficient. The authority (AMLA), which Renew Europe has made a priority, will have clear competences, as well as a solid funding to enable it to operate at full capacity. Besides, Renew Europe's co-rapporteur has negotiated hard to ensure that that the European Parliament plays a leading role in the process of selecting the seat of the new body.

Renew Europe MEP Eva Poptcheva (Ciudadanos, Spain), Vice-Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, ECON co-rapporteur on the regulation for establishing AMLA authority, and ECON shadow on the VI Directive on AML/CFT (AMLD6), stated:

“Until now, the EU's hands-off approach towards dirty money has only yielded scandals. The time has come to crackdown on it. The EU must be bolder than ever if it wants to put an end to its complicity towards illicit finance. AMLA is the gamechanger we needed. With it, the EU can put a stop to the economic nationalism that has fuelled this laundromat. In the wake of Qatargate, Parliament heard this loud and clear. Dirty money is not just a threat to our democracy, it also fuels inequality and injustice. Ordinary citizens struggle to make ends meet and all the while criminals prosper with the complicity of such systemic corruption. This has to end”.

Renew Europe MEP Ramona Strugariu (REPER, Romania), LIBE shadow rapporteur on the AML/CFT legislative package, said:

“The new AML package must be a very powerful tool in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in the EU. Where there is no ambition, there will be no results. We created a strong framework for the cooperation of the Financial Intelligent Units, we secured solid rules for the beneficial ownership disclosure, we ensured proper access to information for journalists and civil society, who are guardians of the public interest. We hope that the Council will be a strong partner on this common road towards a safer Europe, with less organised crime. The cost of money laundering is heavy, comes from the pockets of each and everyone and it is often paid for in human lives. We must stop paying for this price together with the Member States. I am looking forward to the final outcome of the trilogues, I am proud of the work of the Parliament and will continue to defend these excellent agreements that we reached in the upcoming negotiations".

Renew Europe MEP Dragoş Pîslaru (REPER, Romania), ECON shadow rapporteur on the regulation on AML/CFT (AMLR), declared:

“Every day, each EU citizen loses at least 5 euros due to money laundering in Europe. This means less money for proper healthcare services, less money spent for our education system, for infrastructure investments and all the measures that could improve our wellbeing. The EU tried 5 times to reduce these amounts through directives meant to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. And it failed. Now, the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine has further exposed schemes of money laundering by Russian banks through EU banks services. This is why we need a different approach: we need this Regulation. It guarantees harmonised and strengthened practices to hinder criminal activity in this area, it aims to close existing gaps and to take into account new technological developments used by customers for identification, transactions and payments”.


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