It’s being widely reported in Europe this evening that, after tomorrow’s extraordinary meeting of the European Union’s Justice & Home Affairs Council meeting, the European Council will ask the Europe Commission to “present proposals … to strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by pre-paid cards and to curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods“.
If this is right, it will be part of the European Union’s response to the tragic events in Paris last Friday night.
Starting at 10am tomorrow, the European Union’s justice and home affairs ministers will (a) “ensure the follow-up of existing measures and discuss how to strengthen the EU response“; and (b) focus, in particular, on “[the] trafficking of firearms, the reinforcement of controls at external borders, [and] terrorist financing…”
This seems right: the European Commission adopted an anti-money laundering package in May 2015, and it’s already started work on the overall assessment of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks that can affect the European internal market. The Commission is also expecting to “provide a clear picture of the threats and vulnerabilities of the financial system that can lead to terrorist financing risks including the methods and the sources of funds for the terrorists. In line with the 4th AMLD, the outcomes of this risk assessment will be available by June 2017, and will be accompanied by recommendations to Member States on the measures suitable to address the risks identified. Member States will have to comply with such measures or explain the reasons why they ask for derogations … Among the sectors under assessment, the use of virtual currencies will be subject to particular attention, as requested by the European Council of 26 January 2015″.
We’ll blog again on these issues over the next few days.