On 19 August 2020 the European Banking Authority (EBA) published its response to the European Commission’s consultation on its action plan for a comprehensive EU policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The European Commission’s action plan includes 6 “pillars” to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) framework, and the EBA’s response focusses on pillars 1, 3 and 6 (ensuring the effective implementation of the existing EU AML/CFT framework; EU-level AML/CFT supervision; and strengthening the international dimension of the AML/CFT framework).

The EBA considers that a comprehensive assessment of the existing EU AML and CTF framework is vital to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing effectively, efficiently and pragmatically, and to support this urges the European Commission to:

  1. Harmonise the AML/CTF legal framework across the EU Member States to reduce gaps created through divergent regimes which can be exploited by criminals;
  2. Create synergies between national and European AML/CFT supervision in a “hub and spoke” manner to capitalise on local expertise and resources overlaid with pan-EU consistency in approach; and
  3. Capitalise on existing EU infrastructure, including the EBA’s policy, data and information technology resources as well as its international supervisory cooperation networks, to enhance the bloc-wide fight against financial crime.

Finally, the EBA intends to provide technical input and support to the European Commission in the implementation of its Action Plan, and the EBA advises the European Commission to be pragmatic in taking advantage of skills, tools and resources, which have already undergone significant investment, and to develop a more comprehensive and effective EU AML/CFT framework.