European Union (EU) countries currently are competing for the right to host the new EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), which is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2026.
Establishing AMLA is part of a legislative package aimed at implementing the 2020 EU action plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
AMLA would be the centre of an integrated system composed of the authority itself and the national authorities with an AML/CFT supervisory mandate. It would also support EU financial intelligence units (FIUs) and establish a cooperation mechanism among them. The Council achieved a partial political agreement on the proposal on 29 June 2022.
According to the European Commission, the AMLA will begin with 150 staff members in its first year of operation, growing to 300-350 across the next two years, with an expected total of 400 when the Authority is at a “cruising” altitude. AMLA should also have a 10,000 square-meter highly secure office, that can accommodate not only the agency’s staff, but also a delegate from financial-intelligence units of each of the 27 EU member states.
The EU has outlined several criteria that will be considered during the selection process, including proximity to airports and hotels, multilingual schools for staff children, local job opportunities for spouses, geographic balance, and willingness and ability to cover the building’s rent “indefinitely.” Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Spain have already voiced interest in hosting the AMLA.
The establishment of the AMLA is a significant step towards enhancing the fight against financial crime and ensuring financial integrity across the EU. The EU is becoming increasingly serious about the importance of AML/CFT and is willing to undertake radical changes to improve its performance.