European Union: EU Council Releases Anti-Money Laundering Action Plan

Last Updated: January 9 2019
Article by Michael R. Fischer, Philippe Goutay, Patrizia Gioiosa, Nikesh Pandit, Bénédicte Graulle and Sion Richards

Most Read Contributor in United States, September 2019

The Situation: In response to recent cases of money laundering in European banks, the European Union has released an action plan to reinforce its recently proposed anti-money laundering ("AML") and Countering Financing of Terrorism ("CFT") mandate.

The Result: The plan is intended encourage greater collaboration among Member States, a consistent application of common guidelines, and an expectation that regulators will play a more substantial role in monitoring AML/CFT breaches.

Looking Ahead: The European Central Bank is expected to conclude a memorandum of understanding with all relevant AML/CFT authorities soon.

The European Union is continuing to push ahead with its ambitions to strengthen its AML and CFT regime. Following numerous high-profile breaches across the continent, policymakers are keen to address inconsistencies among Member States and create a more harmonized regime.

The Action Plan

The European Council has adopted a practical action plan to shore up the existing regime. The plan outlines immediate and long-term nonlegislative steps targeted at improving the success and efficiency of the existing regime. While most of the changes are directly targeted at supervisors and national competent authorities ("NCAs"), firms they regulate will be directly affected when AML and CFT risks are factored into the prudential supervisory process. For this purpose, the European Central Bank is expected to conclude a memorandum of understanding with all relevant AML/CFT authorities soon.

As such, the action plan demonstrates a commitment to provide for greater collaboration among different national authorities, a consistent application of common guidelines for supervisors, and an expectation that traditional prudential regulators will play a bigger role in monitoring AML breaches. The European supervisory authorities' ("ESAs") Risk-Based Supervision Guidelines will be expanded to include guidance on best practices for the imposition of administrative sanctions in case of breach of AML/CFT rules.

AML's Integration into Prudential Supervision

A priority expressed in the plan is the incorporation of AML and CTF concerns into the processes of prudential regulators. Policymakers are eager to deliver a more holistic approach to supervision in which these authorities remain vigilant of such activity, rather than sticking to their traditional capital risk-based remits. With the European Banking Authority currently conducting a "post mortem" of recent breaches and putting together common guidance for prudential regulators on how to achieve this goal, the action plan calls for greater collaboration between AML/CFT supervisors and their prudential counterparts in the near future.

Exchange of Information and Skills

NCAs and ESAs are making a major commitment to improving the exchange of information. Regulators across the European Union intend to work more closely together, and twinning programs and staff secondments will aim to build working relationships among different national and international authorities. ESAs will review the processes of NCAs with a view to maintaining more consistent standards across Member States.

The plan suggests that these reviews must be more stringent if they are to equalize standards. If successful, this could enable supervisors to move with greater cohesion and efficiency in multijurisdictional investigations, potentially clearing the way for quicker reviews and enforcements action.


The plan also recognizes the need for clarification on a number of issues, most notably the withdrawal of authorization. In this respect, ESAs will need to clarify the degree of discretion supervisors can operate on, how the Capital Requirements Directive should be interpreted, and how the option of license withdrawal in the event of a serious breach can be consistently considered across the entire European Union. On these issues, the plan has set regulators a tight deadline, and they are expected to report back by mid-2019.

In addition, the plan got further backing by the recently endorsed Banking Reform Package that would add to the CRD an objective to enhance the cooperation and exchange of information between prudential supervisors, financial intelligence units, and AML/CFT authorities. It would also strengthen the AML dimension in the relevant prudential tools on authorization, fit, and proper checks, and the supervisory review and evaluation process.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. In response to the Action Plan, regulated entities in Member States should be prepared for more granular reviews of AML processes by prudential authorities in connection with their ongoing supervision as well as in the areas of authorizations, reviews, fit, and proper tests of management and risk evaluations.
  2. As the Action Plan is implemented, firms should note that time frames for multijurisdictional reviews could be shortened. New channels for sharing not just information, but also supervisory techniques, are set to be introduced.
  3. AML/CFT is on the top of the European Union's policy agenda, and the contemplated review of the sanctioning framework for breaches of AML/CFT rules is likely to result in an expansion of the catalogue of available administrative sanctions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions