Proposal for a directive on the mechanisms to be put in place by the Member States for the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and repealing Directive (EU) 2015/849

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On 20 July 2021, the Commission adopted an anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislative package, including a proposal for a sixth AML/CFT directive.

This sixth Directive on AML/CFT (“AMLD6”) will replace the existing Directive 2015/849/EU (the fourth AML directive, as amended by Directive 2018/843, the fifth AML directive).

AMLD6 contains provisions that are not appropriate for a Regulation and require national transposition, such as rules concerning national supervisors and Financial Intelligence Units in Member States.

Parliament has shown its support to the Commission’s plan to overhaul the current AML/CFT legislative structure. In response to the Commission’s 2020 Action Plan, Parliament passed a resolution on 10 July 2020, calling for a strengthening of Union rules in AML/CFT and welcoming plans to overhaul the EU AML/CFT institutional set-up. 

The Commission’s proposal is aimed at enhancing the EU’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing. It establishes mechanisms for Member States to put in place to prevent the use of financial systems for money laundering and financing terrorism. The proposal adds consistency of approach and aims to avoid regulatory divergence between Member States. The role of public authorities in oversight of self-regulatory bodies is clarified; the role of the new Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) is set out as well as the obligation on other bodies to cooperate with it.

The Council set out the importance of identifying and verifying beneficial owners across entities. It also set out how record retention and data protection clarifications would improve the work of competent authorities. It also wanted to make sure that those who could show a legitimate interest, such as journalists and civil society organisations could gain access to information on beneficial ownership in registers.

The European Data Protection Supervisor adopted its opinion on the Commission's Legislative Package on AML of which the proposal for a Directive forms part on 22 September 2021. The EESC adopted its opinion on 8 December 2021.

The proposal has been assigned to ECON and LIBE as the committees jointly responsible, with rapporteurs appointed on 25 November 2021. They are Ludek Niedermayer of EPP for ECON and Paul Tang of S&D for LIBE. JURI has decided not to give an opinion on the file.

The co-rapporteurs published their report on 23 May 2022. It states that Parliament regrets that EU standards have not been transposed in time by Member States nor properly applied at national level. It notes that discrepancies in the implementation of previous anti-money laundering directives have also seriously undermined the effectiveness of the framework. Among the proposals, the co-rapporteurs suggest that more stringent requirements should be put in place, in particular with regard to the verification of data and the use of technology for this purpose. They also want registries to be able to sanction inaccuracies and inconsistencies. The report recommends that public access to certain information on beneficial ownership of trusts and similar legal arrangements should no longer be restricted. The report also introduces amendments to the chapter governing the functioning of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), in order to promote access to information by FIUs and the exchange of information between them, making the most of technological advances while preserving fundamental rights.

On 2 June 2022 LIBE and ECON voted to accept the report on the proposal for a directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering or terrorist financing. The co-rapporteurs’ proposal to create a register of beneficial owners via the BORIS interconnection system was particularly appreciated by the parliamentarians. The idea of creating a national register for high-value assets, such as yachts and luxury cars, was also welcomed, although MEPs stated that the proposal should be balanced and respect data protection. 

MEPs also insisted on improving the exchange of financial information and cooperation between financial units and stressed the importance of coherence between this package and the regulation of the AMLA, the new European anti-money laundering authority. 

On 7 December 2022 the Council agreed its position on AMLD6. On 19 April 2023, the Committee decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations was confirmed by plenary (Rule 71). On 18 January 2024 the Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Directive as part of the anti-money laundering package. The directive provides the power to those in charge of registers to carry out inspections to verify the veracity of information. It will also provide access to the beneficial ownership registers to persons with legitimate interest such as journalists and civil society organisations.

The plenary vote on the provisional agreement is scheduled for the European Parliament session of 22 April.

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As of 20/04/2024.