The European Council on Wednesday has agreed on a draft regulation that will enforce cash restrictions by making it imperative for every citizen entering or leaving the EU possessing cash of a value of €10,000 or more to declare it to the customs authorities.
The objective is to combat money laundering and terrorism financing within the EU of international standards developed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) agreed its position on a draft regulation aimed at improving controls on cash entering or leaving the Union. This position serves as a mandate for the Council to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament, once the Parliament will have set out its own position.
"Criminal and terrorist networks take advance of anonymity of cash payment transactions. That is why we need an effective system of cash declarations that can help authorities to better prevent and fight against illegal activities and reinforce security across the Union,"Edward Scicluna, Minister for Finance of Malta said.
The future regulation will improve the current system of controls with respect to cash entering or leaving the EU by replacing regulation 1889/2005.
It will thus complement the EU's legal framework for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing laid down in directive 2015/849.
Under the Council common position, any citizen entering or leaving the EU and carrying cash of a value of €10 000 or more, will have to declare it to the customs authorities.The declaration will have to be done irrespective of whether travellers are carrying the cash in their person, their luggage or means of transport.They will have to declare it to the customs.
With regard to cash sent in postal packages, courier shipments, unaccompanied luggage or containerized cargo ("unaccompanied cash"), the competent authorities will have the power to request the sender or the recipient, as the case may be, to make a disclosure declaration. The declaration will be done in writing or electronically using a standard form.
The authorities of the member states will exchange information, notably where there are indications that the cash is related to criminal activity which could adversely affect the financial interests of the EU. This information will also be transmitted to the Commission.
The new regulation will not prevent member states to provide for additional national controls on movements of cash within the Union under national law, provided that these controls are in accordance with the Union's fundamental freedoms.