Remarks by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

First of all, Europe’s recovery, and as the minister already said, some positive news from today’s ECOFIN meeting. Ministers discussed four more recovery and resilience plans: from Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia.

The plans are of high quality with a balanced mix of reforms and investments, along with comprehensive milestones and targets to ensure their implementation in the coming years.

The ministers’ discussion was positive, which means that the only thing remaining is to formalise approval of these four plans via written procedure in the coming days.

This will bring the total number of national plans approved to 16, paving the way for the next disbursements of RRF funds to those Member States.

The Commission will pay out the pre-financing as soon as technical arrangements for these payments are agreed with each Member State. This should be a matter of weeks, or, in some cases, days.

For the other 7 countries that submitted a recovery plan, our assessment process continues to make sure that each plan properly meets all requirements set out in the RRF Regulation. As you know, two countries are still to submit their plans.

Honourable Minister, I would like to thank you and your team for making every effort to get these 16 plans approved as quickly as possible.

This work should continue as a matter of urgency in the coming months so that we get Europe’s recovery properly underway.

Let me now turn to the other point of discussion: the Commission’s proposals to step up the fight against money laundering.

While EU laws in this area are among the toughest in the world, they are still not enforced equally across Member States. There are also loopholes that need to be closed.

The first element is the creation of the new Anti-Money Laundering Authority: AMLA, at the EU level.

This will strengthen the supervision of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing in all EU countries.

The new authority will coordinate the EU’s national supervisors – but not replace them. AMLA will directly supervise only some of the most risky financial institutions which operate across multiple EU countries or which need action to deal with immediate threats.

We also need a single set of EU rules to iron out national variations – and to clarify, strengthen and align AML obligations across all EU countries.

Next: we will bring crypto-assets fully within the scope of EU AML rules to make crypto-asset transfers fully traceable – just as other money transfers already are.

And we intend to set a ceiling of €10,000 for cash transactions.

Lastly: making sure illicit money flows from outside the EU do not threaten our financial system.

Our approach regarding non-EU countries should reflect the actual risks involved, with different consequences according to their level of threat – in the form of a black list and grey list.

We will list countries based on the assessment of the Financial Action Task Force, the international watchdog.

However, if the Commission finds that a country poses a threat to the EU’s financial system, then we will be able to do it autonomously.

Thank you and I am open to your questions.

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