17 EU Member States Face Disciplinary Action over Money Laundering Law

The European Commission (EC) has initiated an infringement procedure against 17 member states that have failed to implement the 5th Anti‑Money Laundering Directive, a legal framework passed by the European Parliament in April 2018.

In late May 2020, the commission sent out formal notices to these member states, which is the initial step in the process of holding them accountable.

The 5th Anti‑Money Laundering Directive was designed to fix the persisting issue of money laundering in the bloc. It is meant to achieve this by increasing coordination in surveillance, implementation of existing laws, sharing of information, and aligning the efforts of the bloc with global standards.

The member states had until January 10th, 2020, to ratify and implement the new law.  It turns out that 17 member states, which is more than half the membership, missed the deadline.

The list of the member states that now face the disciplinary action includes:

  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Cyprus
  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia and
  • Slovenia

Meanwhile, another group of member states has only managed to do partially implementation of the new laws.

Those in this latter category include:

  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Belgium
  • the Czech Republic
  • Luxembourg
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Ireland

A statement from the European Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union, reads:

The Commission regrets that the Member States in question have failed to transpose the Directive in a timely manner and encourages them all to do so urgently, bearing in mind the importance of these rules for the EU’s collective interest.

According to the EU treaties, a member state that fails to implement a new law that has been passed by the EU parliament has to be taken through an infringement procedure.

This includes the commission giving it a formal notice and then referring it to the European Court of Justice. The judiciary arm of the bloc can impose financial penalties if the member state is proven to have failed to implement the law.

Previously the US urged Malta to do more against money laundering and British Columbia attempts to fight money laundering by tightening property beneficial ownership.


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