August 12, 2020

The EU will consider creating a community supervisor against money laundering

The ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union (EU) will analyze whether it is necessary to create a community body to monitor money laundering, after several cases of "money laundering" in European banks have revealed the deficiencies of national supervision .

"We are ready to discuss some form of the EU supervisory body, which should have an independent structure," Finnish Finance Minister Mika Lintilä said Thursday at the end of a meeting in which the holders of the Twenty-eight reviewed Progress in the fight against such crimes.

Another alternative to strengthen surveillance would be to provide more supervisory powers to existing agencies, such as the European Banking Authority, which have already been given certain powers in the fight against "money laundering".

The ministerial debate comes after several money laundering scandals through bank accounts in Latvia, Estonia and the Netherlands, the last one just a few days ago with the opening of an investigation into Dutch ABN Amro.

In addition, several European Commission reports published in July revealed that banks do not always have adequate protection against these crimes, that there are problems of cooperation between supervisors of different Member States in cross-border cases and that European standards, although strong, are They apply unevenly in each country.

To try to improve the situation, the holders of Economy and Finance will analyze until December with the Commission, in addition to the measures already mentioned, the possibility of transforming European directives against money laundering into regulations, so that they have to be applied directly and homogeneous in all countries.

They also want to improve the system of information exchange between countries and do not close the door to adopt new measures if the need is detected in sectors other than the financial one, as indicated by the Vice-President of the Commission and responsible for financial services, Valdis Dombrovskis.

Spain "strongly" supports this reinforcement of the European anti-money laundering rules, according to the acting Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, at the end of the meeting.

The minister acknowledged that European standards have been reinforced, but that in the last two years it has been revealed that they are not sufficient to deal with crimes of an international nature and that take advantage of new technologies.

"We support the strengthening of community mechanisms, because no Member State can fight unilaterally against these actions that move quickly across borders," said Calviño, who mentioned the possibility of giving more powers to the EBA or the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

The European Central Bank has been pointing out in recent months the weaknesses of leaving surveillance, as until now, in the hands of each country, and has advocated for a common European supervisor, but so far the countries had not taken steps in this direction beyond granting some more powers to the EBA.

The objective now is to present in December a list of priorities in the fight against money laundering.

On the other hand, the Twenty-Eight also had a first debate about what changes they should introduce to make their development aid financing system more effective.

Although the EU is the world's largest donor, with more than 50% of aid to third countries, the actions of its two institutions responsible for channeling them – the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – they overlap in many of their activities and their shareholding, which undermines the effectiveness of aid.

The ministers have three options on the table based on the report of a "council of wise men": strengthening the EBRD as an EU financial arm by entrusting the activities of the EIB outside the EU, creating a new European development bank with the participation of both or establish a subsidiary within the EIB for its investments outside the EU.

The ministers did not decide on Thursday for one of the three options, but they hope to be able to agree on concrete actions between now and December, according to the Finnish minister.

. (tagsToTranslate) EU (t) will study (t) community supervisor (t) (t) money laundering

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