A Better European Union Architecture to Fight Money Laundering

October 25, 2018
Senior Fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy

ASD’s Joshua Kirschenbaum and Peterson Institute’s Nicolas Veron outline recommendations for a new European unitary architecture to counter the shortcomings of Europe’s anti-money laundering regime. 



A series of banking scandals in multiple European Union countries including Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom has underlined the shortcomings of the European Union’s anti-money laundering (AML) regime. Many of these cases have involved staggering sums, with billions of dollars laundered through accounts at one bank. The impact of the EU’s AML shortcomings has been further underlined by changing geopolitics and by the new reality of European banking union.

The EU legal framework combines a strong, enforceable single market with national AML supervision of banks and other financial and non-financial firms in which the mechanisms to ensure EU-wide supervisory consistency are insufficient. This combination fosters a vicious circle of erosion of supervisory effectiveness in those member states where money launderers tend to concentrate their activity, which undermines the integrity of the entire European system.