Cutting off terrorist financing: Parliament ready to negotiate 

Press Releases 
  • EU-wide definitions and minimum penalties for money laundering
  • Easier to freeze and confiscate criminal assets throughout the EU

Parliament is ready to start talks with ministers on two laws targeting the financing of terrorism and organised crime.

The two laws will clamp down on the funding of terrorism and other organised crime, by countering money laundering as well as easing cross-border freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.


The directive to counter money laundering would improve enforcement by laying down EU-wide definitions of crimes and minimum penalties. MEPs also propose barring those convicted from running for public office or holding a position of public servant.


The cross-border confiscation regulation would set tight deadlines for member states to act on cross-border requests to freeze or confiscate assets, leaving criminals with less time to move them. Furthermore, the process would be simplified in order to make cross-border confiscations easier to carry out, as they are under-used under current rules. At the moment, only an estimated 1.1% of criminal proceeds are ever confiscated.


In both cases, harmonising rules throughout the EU will ensure that terrorists and other criminals will no longer be able to take advantage of the variation in national legislation. The two laws aim to more efficiently deprive terrorists and other organised criminals of the money they depend on to carry out their activities.


Next steps


The mandate for MEPs to start talks with the Council and the Commission was deemed approved after no objections were received by the deadline of midnight on Tuesday. The talks can begin immediately, as the Council has already agreed on its general approach on both drafts. 


Quick facts


Both files - “Countering money laundering by criminal law” and the “Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders” - are part of the Commission’s Action Plan against terrorist financing, proposed in December 2016.


The Civil Liberties furthermore received a negotiating mandate for talks on the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice.


Procedure:  Confirmation of negotiating mandate, co-decision