Frankfurt Chosen as Host for EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority

Frankfurt has been selected as the headquarters for the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Authority (AMLA). The decision was made through a joint vote on Thursday by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and EU ambassadors.

Out of nine candidate cities that applied to host AMLA and presented their cases in public hearings, Frankfurt emerged victorious in the first round of voting, securing a majority of validly cast votes.

The co-rapporteurs for AMLA, Emil Radev of the European People’s Party (EPP) from Bulgaria and Eva Maria Poptcheva of Renew from Spain, expressed their confidence in AMLA, calling it a “game-changer” in cracking down on illicit financial activities within the EU. They highlighted AMLA’s crucial role in supervising high-risk financial entities, overseeing the non-financial sector, and preventing evaders from circumventing targeted financial sanctions.

“Now that Parliament has an equal say in choosing the agency’s seat, we have made the process more transparent with joint public hearings, and introduced specific selection criteria to ensure that the location enables the Authority to fully execute its tasks and powers. Congratulations to the winner, Frankfurt!” the co-rapporteurs stated.

Following the vote on Thursday, co-rapporteurs Radev and Poptcheva, along with Willem van de Voorde, Belgium’s Permanent Representative to the EU, and Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Services, will hold a joint press conference at approximately 20:30. The press conference will provide further insights into the decision-making process and the implications of having AMLA based in Frankfurt.

This decision marks a historic moment as, for the first time, the host city for a new EU agency was agreed upon equally by the Parliament and Council. This approach follows a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The AMLA regulation is part of a broader legislative package aimed at reforming the EU’s framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

The entire legislative package, including the AMLA regulation, has been provisionally agreed between the Parliament and Council. To become law, they now need formal adoption by both bodies, with Parliament expected to vote on final approval during the plenary session scheduled for April 22-25. If approved, the AMLA regulation will come into effect from July 2025. In the interim period, the European Commission will be responsible for establishing the Authority and overseeing its initial operations.

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