Is a disaster necessary to stop the European AML-CFT tanker? | Action Plan AML-CFT

The European Commission has published an Action Plan setting out concrete measures that the Commission wants to take over the next 12 months to better enforce, supervise and coordinate the EU’s rules on combating money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing (CFT). A public consultation on the Action Plan has started , in which authorities, stakeholders and citizens will be able provide their feedback until 29 July 2020.

The Commission announces – amongst other things – that  in the first quarter of 2021 it will propose a harmonised set of rules regarding AML/CFT and that it will propose an EU-level supervisor.

One-size-fits-all in AML/CFT
The proposed measures will not only regard the financial sector, where banks are supposed to be important players in the detection of criminals. The obliged entities under European AML-legislation include many different types of companies (company types in the Netherlands are to be found here, in Dutch).

One of the major deficiencies of European AML-legislation is that regulations devised for banks are applied to many other type of companies. This one-size-fits-all method harms the non-bank obliged entities and their clients. When the European Union is going on with applying rules (that do not work well with banks as everyone knows) to other types of obliged entities, the problems will increase.

Although the Union’s AML/CFT rules do not intend to deny access to legimate financial services, this is currently taking place. De-risking is one of the major consequences of the rules.

A worrying aspect of the European activities regarding AML/CFT, is there is no independent counterbalance to what is devised by the people at the European and national drawing tables. Criticisms are trivialised and critics are put in the corner of ‘facilitators’ that help criminals.

The European AML/CFT tanker is traveling on; only a disaster caused by these inadequate rules will stop this tanker.


More information:

Plans of the Commission:

On this blog:
read the posts with the tag Anti-Money Laundering Regulation, and:


Addition 25 Juni 2020
The action plan is discussed in a letter by the Dutch Minister of Finance (Dutch).

Addition 4 July 2020
CCBE in its newsletter says it is preparing a response:

Commission Action Plan to further strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing
On 7 May 2020, the Commission published an Action Plan to further strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The Action Plan sets out measures that the Commission will take over the next 12 months to better enforce, supervise and coordinate the EU rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The measures and the timetable are set-out in a table at the end of the Action Plan. The Commission believes this new, comprehensive approach can shut down any remaining loopholes and remove any weak links in the EU rules.
The Action Plan is built on 6 Pillars, each of which is aimed at improving the EU’s overall fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as strengthening the EU’s global role in this area. The Pillars concern effective application of EU rules, a single EU rulebook, EU-level supervision, support for Financial Intelligence Units, the EU’s global role and enforcing EU-level criminal law provisions and information exchange.
The CCBE Anti-Money Laundering Committee has had a number of meetings to prepare a response to the Commission Public Consultation on the Action Plan which is open until 29 July.

Over Ellen Timmer

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