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Newsletter15 March 2024Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union1 min read

Anti-money laundering

Frankfurt to host new authority that will play a key role in EU fight against illicit financial activities.

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On 22 February, the European Parliament and Council selected Frankfurt as the home for the new EU Authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLA). It was the last step in negotiations on the ambitious package of measures proposed by the European Commission in 2021, which is now completed. The anti-money laundering (AML) package will step up the fight against financial crime by improving the detection of suspicious activities and closing loopholes exploited by criminals.

Joint agreement

It was the first time that both the Council and the European Parliament had jointly agreed on the location of a decentralised agency, which before was determined in most cases by Member States. The agency has various tasks in two areas: strengthening supervision of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); and establishing a support and cooperation mechanism among EU financial intelligence units (FIUs).

The call for applications was launched on 28 September 2023 and nine Member States applied. In addition to Frankfurt, there were Brussels, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Riga, Vilnius and Vienna. The Commission carried out a neutral and factual assessment of the applications. The European Parliament and the Council organised joint public hearings, where each country was able to present its application. Members of Parliament and Council representatives had the opportunity to ask questions related to the criteria and the information provided, the content of the application and the presentation.

Important criteria

In making the selection, a number of criteria were agreed by the Council and European Parliament – for instance, that the location allows the authority to recruit highly qualified and specialised staff, offers adequate training opportunities, and allows for close cooperation with EU institutions, bodies and agencies.

AMLA will bring EU legislation and Member State implementation together, creating a centrepiece of anti-money-laundering policy application in the real world. It will directly supervise selected financial sector firms exposed to high risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. It will also coordinate national supervisory authorities and enhance cooperation among financial intelligence units.

The Commission will now accelerate the work on setting up AMLA so it starts most operations in 2025.

AML/CFT package

Financial crime

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