EU finance ministers agree to set up EU body to find money laundering

European Union finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to set up an EU body that would fight money laundering across the 27-nation bloc, supporting a European Commission proposal from May. The Council of Finance ministers also gave their backing for the Commission to harmonise EU anti-money laundering rules and provide coordination and support for national Financial Intelligence Units of EU countries.

The German Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing is a top priority for the German presidency. Recent alleged money laundering cases, including in the EU, underline the urgency to act”, adding that a more harmonised rules and EU-level supervision will allow us to be more effective and to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering framework.

He stressed that the agreement is an important sign that we all stand united for tough anti-money laundering measures.

During the discussion, ministers expressed broad support for the draft Council conclusions as prepared by Coreper and at expert level.

In the draft conclusions, the Council outlines various areas in which the Commission should consider harmonising the EU rules via a directly applicable regulation. The Council also supports setting up an EU-level supervisor with direct supervisory powers over a selected number of high-risk obliged entities, as well as the authority to take over supervision from a national supervisor in clearly defined and exceptional situations.

The Council of Finance ministers also gave their backing for the Commission to harmonise EU anti-money laundering rules and provide coordination and support for national Financial Intelligence Units of EU countries.