The Renew Europe group welcomes the deal on a Directive to speed up the freezing and confiscation of criminal assets, agreed this morning between the European Parliament and the Council. From now on, the EU will harmonise how and under which conditions money resulting from crimes shall be seized from organised criminal networks in Europe. This is a crucial step in levelling up the fight against organised crime, as only 1 % of illegal profits are effectively confiscated under the current EU-rules.
One of the main elements of the agreement, pushed through by the Renew Europe group, is the strong guidance by the Commission for Member States to make sure criminal assets confiscated in the context of circumvention of EU sanctions against Russia are used for the reconstruction of Ukraine, in a step to pay back the Ukrainian people.
Malik Azmani (VVD, Netherlands), the Renew Europe group’s negotiator on the Directive, said after the deal:
“The best way to fight organised crime is to hit them where it hurts: in their wallets. Only by quickly and efficiently tackling their criminal earnings will we be able to counter criminal networks in their advances in the EU and in the Netherlands. This is a crucial step to break the working methods of criminals,”
The new rules strengthen the powers of Asset Recovery Offices, which will help Member States to better detect and confiscate criminal assets, and cover rules for faster compensation for victims. New models will also be introduced at the EU level: throughout the EU, the non-conviction based confiscation procedure is now being introduced to confiscate criminal assets and illegally obtained property without prior conviction of a person for a criminal offence.