On 7 May 2020, the European Commission adopted a new package on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing comprising of:
An action plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorism financing;
A methodology to identify high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes;
A list of high-risk third countries in the form of a Delegated Regulation.
The Action Plan
The Action Plan sets out concrete measures that the Commission will take over the next 12 months to better enforce, supervise and coordinate the EU's rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The outlined actions build on the findings of the anti-money laundering package of 2019, which highlighted fragmentation of rules, uneven supervision and limitations in the cooperation among financial intelligence units across the EU.
The Action Plan builds on six pillars:
1. Effective implementation of existing rules:
The Commission will continue to monitor closely the implementation of EU rules by Member States. Moreover, according to the Action Plan encourages the European Banking Authority (EBA) is encouraged to make full use of its new powers to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
2. A single EU rulebook:
The Commission will propose a more harmonised set of rules in the first quarter of 2021.
3. EU-level supervision:
In the first quarter of 2021, the Commission will propose to set up an EU-level supervisor.
4. A support and cooperation mechanism for financial intelligence units:
In the first quarter of 2021, the Commission will propose to establish an EU mechanism to help further coordinate and support the work of the Financial Intelligence Units.
5. Better use of information to enforce criminal law:
The Commission will issue guidance on the role of public-private partnerships to clarify and enhance data sharing.
6. A stronger EU in the world:
The new methodology issued alongside the Action Plan provides the EU with the necessary tools for the EU to adjust its approach to third countries with deficiencies in their regime regarding anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing.
The Commission has launched a public consultation in order to gather the views of citizens and stakeholders on the proposed measures. Feedback is welcome until 29 July.
The Commission has also published a more transparent, refined methodology to identify high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes. The methodology aims to provide more clarity and transparency in the process of identifying these third countries. This will enhance our engagement with third countries and ensure greater cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The key new elements concern:
·. the interaction between the EU and FATF listing process;
· an enhanced engagement with third countries;
· reinforced consultation of Member States experts.
New list of high-risk third countries
The Commission has also adopted a new list of third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.
The Commission amended the list in the form of a Delegated Regulation. It will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval within one month.
Countries which have been listed: The Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama and Zimbabwe.
Countries which have been delisted: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Guyana, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.