Recovering Tunisian and Egyptian Assets: Legal Complexity Challenges States in Need

16-05-2013

Freezing assets is an EU competence; recovering them, on the other hand, is a competence of the Member States. For the EU, recovering the assets of the ousted Tunisian and Egyptian regimes is an issue of political commitment and credibility, with the Union's reputation in Arab Spring countries partly at stake. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (in force since 2005) makes clear that recovering assets is a priority in a coordinated international fight against corruption. There exists a lack of efficient cooperation between 'requesting' and 'requested' states, as well as a paucity of reliable information about the amounts in question. The EU Council has recently adopted a decision to make it easier to share information relating to Egyptian and Tunisian funds in the EU. There are still many procedural problems to tackle, especially in the case of Egypt. An EU special task force could be set up to explore practical ways to better coordinate and exchange best practices between EU Member States and Tunisia and Egypt. The UK is a frontrunner in establishing a central structure facilitating the legal proceedings to recover assets. The European Parliament can send a clear signal of the EU's political commitment to helping Tunisia and Egypt recover their assets.

Freezing assets is an EU competence; recovering them, on the other hand, is a competence of the Member States. For the EU, recovering the assets of the ousted Tunisian and Egyptian regimes is an issue of political commitment and credibility, with the Union's reputation in Arab Spring countries partly at stake. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (in force since 2005) makes clear that recovering assets is a priority in a coordinated international fight against corruption. There exists a lack of efficient cooperation between 'requesting' and 'requested' states, as well as a paucity of reliable information about the amounts in question. The EU Council has recently adopted a decision to make it easier to share information relating to Egyptian and Tunisian funds in the EU. There are still many procedural problems to tackle, especially in the case of Egypt. An EU special task force could be set up to explore practical ways to better coordinate and exchange best practices between EU Member States and Tunisia and Egypt. The UK is a frontrunner in establishing a central structure facilitating the legal proceedings to recover assets. The European Parliament can send a clear signal of the EU's political commitment to helping Tunisia and Egypt recover their assets.