The European Commission intends to propose a number of far-reaching measures in order to increase the EU’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. After the deadline for Member States to transpose the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5MLD)) into national law on 10 January 2020, the Commission is due to publish a new Action Plan on anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) on 6 May 2020. It is understood that the Action Plan will contain a number of measures that will enhance the current EU AML and CTF framework, which includes a strengthening of the regulatory framework by turning the 5MLD into a Regulation, and a further centralisation of AML and CTF supervision on EU level. The Commission plans to publish a legal proposal in Q1 2021.

The Commission’s proposed actions would inter alia entail the following:

  • support Member States in implementing the necessary AML and CTF reforms through the European Semester process;
  • by Q1 2021, assess how a single rulebook in the field of AML and CTF would be best delivered, including by turning 5MLD into a Regulation, developing technical standards, and further harmonizing specific areas;
  • also by Q1 2021, the Commission is expected to assess the options on the functions, scope and structure of an EU level AML/CTF supervisor;
  • as part of the evaluation, the Commission will assess a number of options on the role and structure of a possible EU coordination and support mechanism for Financial Intelligence Units;
  • net, currently managed by Europol, will be managed by the Commission from Q4 2020; and
  • with the Action Plan, the Commission is expected to publish a new methodology on the assessment of high-risk third countries.

The Commission will also continue strictly enforcing the complete and correct transposition of 5MLD in Member States. To this end, it has sent letters to 10 Member States that have not implemented 5MLD in their national legal systems by the 10 January 2020 deadline.

The Commission is planning to consult on its Action Plan for a period of three months.