Frankfurt to host the EU’s new anti-money laundering authority (AMLA)

Today, the Council and the European Parliament representatives reached an agreement on the seat of the future European authority for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AMLA).

AMLA will be based in Frankfurt and begin operations mid-2025. It will have over 400 staff members.

The new authority is the centrepiece of the reform of the EU’s anti-money laundering framework. AMLA will have direct and indirect supervisory powers over obliged entities and the power to impose sanctions and measures.

Regarding the location of the authority, the Council and the Parliament worked together to ensure a selection process that is transparent, fair and equitable to all candidates.

The final agreement on the location of AMLA’s seat was made by the co-legislators in an informal inter-institutional meeting at political level, where the Parliament’s and the Council’s representatives voted together at the same time with 27 votes attributed to each co-legislator.

The location of the seat will be included in the AMLA regulation and formally adopted as part of the text.

On 20 July 2021, the Commission presented a package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s rules on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CFT). This package includes a regulation establishing a new EU anti-money laundering authority. The Council and the Parliament found a provisional agreement on the AMLA regulation on 13 December 2023.

In its judgments of 14 July 2022 concerning the seat of the European Medicines Agency and the European Labour Authority, the EU Court of Justice held that the competence to determine the location of the seat of those agencies lies with the EU legislature, which must act to that end in accordance with the procedures laid down by the substantively relevant provisions of the Treaties, in this case the ordinary legislative procedure.

Discussions to agree on a selection procedure for the location of the seat of AMLA, the first agency to be set up after the judgments of 14 July 2022, took place between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. In June 2023, the co-legislators agreed on joint criteria for the selection of the seat of AMLA. On 28 September, the Commission launched the call for applications, with the deadline of 10 November 2023 for member states to send applications.

Nine member states submitted applications to host AMLA: Belgium (Brussels), Germany (Frankfurt), Ireland (Dublin), Spain (Madrid), France (Paris), Italy (Rome), Latvia (Riga), Lithuania (Vilnius) and Austria (Vienna).

The Commission was tasked to assess the eligibility of the candidacies. The assessments were released in January 2024.

The co-legislators agreed on the principle of organising joint public hearings to allow representatives of member states’ candidacies to present their applications. The co-legislators assessed each application according to the selection criteria included in the call for applications, the information provided by candidates in their application forms, the Commission’s assessment of those forms as well as the outcome of joint public hearings. On the basis of their assessment, the co-legislators held a vote today.

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