Minister for Finance and Financial Services Edward Scicluna, together with the Finance Ministers of the European Union, participated in an informal Ecofin videoconference on the 19th of May 2020, to discuss the AML/CFT Communication recently issued by the European Commission and the Recovery Fund.
“Malta is certainly in favour of achieving greater clarity and harmonisation on the application of AML/CFT requirements across all EU member states through the creation of an EU authority or agency, which could be part of the mechanism to achieve better coordination and cooperation between EU AML/CFT supervisors,” stated Minister Scicluna.
Such an agency should see the involvement and strengthening of national AML/CFT supervisors since these have regular interaction with obliged entities and have enforcement and sanctioning powers over them. To achieve this, a gap analysis may be needed to better assess pending obstacles to information sharing and joint actions that could be effectively addressed through legislation. There should also be the necessary structures and technological means to carry out data sharing and data analysis in an effective manner.
Malta also supports the Commission in having significant synergies with the FATF (de)listing process while retaining the EU’s ability to act independently in those circumstances that require action to protect the EU.
During the meeting, the Finance Ministers also took stock of the progress made on measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis at the EU level, including the EIB’s pan-European guarantee fund.
Minister Scicluna said, “Malta welcomes the progress achieved so far with regards to the four EU financial instruments. We support the EIB’s pan-European guarantee fund, that could support financing for companies encountering problems due to the COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on SMEs, the SURE Programme for the protection of employment, the ESM Credit lines and the common recovery instrument at the EU level.”
“Malta strongly believes that the recovery plan must be treated holistically and that the entire Multiannual Financial Framework, including the Recovery Fund, are agreed to as soon as possible. Malta is open to discussions but is ready to seek a compromise to the benefit of the formidable challenges facing the EU in the months to come”.