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Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders

12-12-2018

In order to respond more effectively to the challenge of criminals and terrorists hiding assets in other Member States, in 2016 the European Commission proposed a regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders in criminal matters. The directly applicable instrument removes the need for national transposition, broadens the scope of the current rules to cover new types of confiscation and includes provisions on victims' rights to restitution and compensation. In June 2018, ...

In order to respond more effectively to the challenge of criminals and terrorists hiding assets in other Member States, in 2016 the European Commission proposed a regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders in criminal matters. The directly applicable instrument removes the need for national transposition, broadens the scope of the current rules to cover new types of confiscation and includes provisions on victims' rights to restitution and compensation. In June 2018, provisional agreement was reached in interinstitutional negotiations and the European Parliament voted the agreed text on 4 October 2018. The Council followed suit on 6 November 2018. The final act was signed on 14 November and published in the Official Journal of the EU on 28 November 2018. The regulation will apply 24 months after its entry into force, namely from 19 December 2020. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Freezing and confiscation orders

26-09-2018

The European Commission proposed, in 2016, a new regulation to improve the EU legal framework on the freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in cross-border cases. It covers new types of confiscation orders, speeds up procedures and ensures victims' rights to compensation and restitution. The European Parliament is due to vote during its October I plenary session on the agreed text reached in trilogue negotiations.

The European Commission proposed, in 2016, a new regulation to improve the EU legal framework on the freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in cross-border cases. It covers new types of confiscation orders, speeds up procedures and ensures victims' rights to compensation and restitution. The European Parliament is due to vote during its October I plenary session on the agreed text reached in trilogue negotiations.

Mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders

20-06-2017

The IA for the proposed regulation has a number of weaknesses that could be attributed to political urgency and the need for EU action in the area of freezing and confiscation of criminal assets, notably since the recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Germany. Overall, the IA lacks sound data and this is openly recognised throughout the document. In the context of the IA, no public consultation took place and no ex-post evaluation of existing mutual recognition instruments was carried out ...

The IA for the proposed regulation has a number of weaknesses that could be attributed to political urgency and the need for EU action in the area of freezing and confiscation of criminal assets, notably since the recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Germany. Overall, the IA lacks sound data and this is openly recognised throughout the document. In the context of the IA, no public consultation took place and no ex-post evaluation of existing mutual recognition instruments was carried out. The IA does not explain clearly how addressing the deficiencies in the existing EU legislation and its implementation would increase recovery of criminal assets in cross-border cases, as there is a general lack of data in this policy context. As for the options proposed, the IA could perhaps have clarified why sub-options 4a and 4b were discussed jointly, whereas option 3 was presented as a stand-alone option. In addition to this, the regulatory options could have been checked in the light of the principle of subsidiarity. The IA could have explained in more detail what it means by 'harmonised grounds for non-recognition based on fundamental rights', which seem not to have been included in articles 9 and 18 of the proposal. In general, the choice of legal instrument is left outside the scope of the impact analysis and the choice in favour of a regulation seems rather pre-determined. The IA could have addressed the impact of adopting a regulation on those 12 Member States that currently have more restrictive approaches to confiscation. Finally, it could have stated whether stakeholders were consulted on the choice of instrument, and how the preferred option accommodates the divergent views of the stakeholders on the issue of mutual recognition as an alternative to further harmonisation.

The Need for New EU Legislation Allowing the Assets Confiscated from Criminal Organisations to be Used for Civil Society and in Particular for Social Purposes

15-02-2012

The note evaluates the current legislation on the asset recovery process both at the EU and Member States level, with a view to assessing the need and the feasibility of establishing EU regulation on the use of confiscated assets for civil society and in particular for social purposes. It points out that at the EU level only limited attention has been given to the final destination of confiscated assets and that within Member States using confiscated assets for social purposes is not a widely established ...

The note evaluates the current legislation on the asset recovery process both at the EU and Member States level, with a view to assessing the need and the feasibility of establishing EU regulation on the use of confiscated assets for civil society and in particular for social purposes. It points out that at the EU level only limited attention has been given to the final destination of confiscated assets and that within Member States using confiscated assets for social purposes is not a widely established practice. It analyses the advantages of the social re-use of confiscated assets and comes to the conclusion that there is a clear need for a coherent European approach. The note puts forward a series of recommendations ranging from the adoption of a European Directive on the social re-use of confiscated assets to the creation of a European Asset Recovery Database, a European Asset Recovery Fund and a European Asset Recovery Office.

Údar seachtarach

Basel Institute on Governance

EU response to the US terrorist finance tracking programme

28-04-2011

For the United States, the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme is an essential element of its counter-terrorism policy. It relies on 'data sets' obtained under subpoena from the SWIFT worldwide messaging system, allowing it to track financial transactions from across the world, and initially including Europe.  In 2009, SWIFT moved its European transaction data to Europe, forcing the US to negotiate with European governments for continued access to the data. The move also coincided with the increase ...

For the United States, the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme is an essential element of its counter-terrorism policy. It relies on 'data sets' obtained under subpoena from the SWIFT worldwide messaging system, allowing it to track financial transactions from across the world, and initially including Europe.  In 2009, SWIFT moved its European transaction data to Europe, forcing the US to negotiate with European governments for continued access to the data. The move also coincided with the increase in the power of the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty. An interim agreement, supported by the Council and Commission, was rejected by the EP on the grounds that it failed to correctly balance security and civil liberties.  The EU-US Financial Messaging Data Agree­ment was finally signed in June 2010, following further negotiations with the US, and including additional data protection provisions in comparison to the rejected text.  Two reports on the first six months of the new agreement have, however, placed doubts on the new data protection safeguards. In particular a report on Europol's role has raised serious concerns from a number of MEPs. Europol has, in turn, strongly defended its own performance.  

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