On 12 February 2020, the European Commission (Commission) published a roadmap for a proposed communication highlighting the areas in which it intends to focus on to address deficiencies in the EU’s anti-money laundering (AML) framework.

The Commission published an analysis of money laundering scandals in July 2019 which illustrated the cross-border nature of money laundering, concluding that even full implementation of the latest anti-money laundering provisions introduced by the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and of all actions laid down by the Council in its 2018 action plan would not be sufficient enough to remedy the current weaknesses.

In light of this, the communication aims to trigger a debate within the EU institutions, member states and interested stakeholders on what measures are required to protect the EU internal market from criminals attempting to launder money and finance terrorism. The communication will also provide a first response to the European Parliament and Council’s calls for strong and rapid action to deliver an effective EU framework for fighting money laundering and terrorist financing. The communication will only describe areas of work and possible options that will be investigated in the coming months. It does not intend to prescribe future action, but rather to present the Commission’s preliminary approach to the challenge of enhancing the EU’s AML framework.

The proposed communication will also seek to reflect on how the EU will deal with the risks linked with fintech, in particular virtual currencies, and on how the AML framework needs to adapt to such innovative technologies.

The deadline for comments on the roadmap is 11 March 2020. The Commission expects the proposed communication to form the basis for extensive consultation, with a view to presenting new policy initiatives in early 2021.