During an informal Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) videoconference on Monday, European Ministers of the Economy and Finance discussed the new package of legislative proposals on the fight against money laundering and the plans for recovery and resilience submitted by four Member States.

On 20 July 2021, the European Commission published an ambitious set of legislative proposals aimed at strengthening European Union (EU) anti-money laundering (AML) rules. The Commission proposed in particular the replacement of the directive which is currently in force by a new directive, as well as a regulation which establishes rules directly applicable in all EU Member States. The package also includes two proposed regulations, which aim to establish a new authority at EU level in the fight against money laundering and to include crypto-assets in the scope of the regulation on fund transfers.

Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, welcomed these initiatives, noting: “Money laundering and terrorist financing pose serious threats to the EU's economy and financial system. The ambitious legislative package published by the European Commission is an important step in strengthening the EU framework in this area”.

The Finance Minister emphasised the importance of an inclusive governance of the new EU authority as well as the importance of building on the experience gained in other areas of surveillance which involve the cooperation of national and European authorities. He also highlighted the importance of ensuring consistency with the standards set at the global level, in particular within the framework of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and of following a risk-based approach. He stressed that, in an internal market which aims to eliminate barriers to the provision of services beyond national borders, it is obvious that the cross-border nature of an activity cannot in itself constitute a determining criterion of risk.

As part of the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the recovery and resilience plans submitted by four Member States, namely Cyprus, Croatia, Lithuania and Slovenia, which currently holds the Council Presidency, got the green light from the ministers, paving the way for the disbursement of funds in favour of the aforementioned countries in the coming weeks.