Minister Häkkänen: Financing terrorism and organised crime to be effectively countered in the EU
Countering financing of terrorism is on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8 and 9 June in Luxembourg. The objective of the meeting of the Ministers of Justice is to adopt a proposed directive to harmonise legislation of EU Member States on money laundering.
The proposal is part of a European Action Plan to counter financing of terrorism and organised crime.
“The recent attacks in Europe emphasise the need for EU cooperation in fighting terrorism. Money laundering is a key method of channeling funds to support terrorism. The EU must systematically act together to counter the financing of terrorism,” says Finland’s Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen.
The directive would secure effective criminalisation of money laundering in EU Member States. Negotiations on the directive continue with the European Parliament.
A proposal for a regulation to establish the European Public Prosecutor's Office is also on the agenda of the upcoming meeting. Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen considers it important that the European Union intensify its activities in countering fraud and corruption that target common funds of European taxpayers in all possible ways. The establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office is one step in achieving this aim.
“It is in Finland’s interests in the capacity of a net contributor to prevent offences directed against the EU budget. Within the EU, the number of such offences is relatively high, even though in Finland these offences are committed rather rarely. It is in the taxpayers’ interest that any possible abuses are thoroughly investigated and that those who commit fraud are brought to justice. “The EU’s credibility in the eyes of the citizens also demands that these problems are properly addressed,” says Minister Häkkänen.
The objective of a new European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) proposed to be established is to intensify the investigation and prosecution of frauds and bribery offences directed against the EU budget.
“Finland should be a part of a broad European front that aims to fight fraud and corruption. We can also introduce Nordic open and transparent administrative culture to the Office. At the moment, it seems that twenty countries will participate in the establishment of the Office,” Häkkänen says.
If the meeting is able to reach an agreement on the proposal on the establishment of the Office, the next stage is to discuss the proposal at the European Parliament. The establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office would not bring any changes to the powers of the national authorities in Finland.
The ministers of justice will also discuss ways to improve ways to improve cross-border access to e-evidence needed in crime investigation. The intention is to ensure the authorities are capable of effective action as crime and evidence are increasingly to be found online. The intention is also to improve cooperation between the authorities and service providers to investigate crime.
The justice ministers also promote the Digital Single Market in the meeting. The meeting is to adopt a directive on the supply of digital content. The directive deals with the responsibility of the economic operators for digital content delivered to consumers, such as computer software, games, music, TV services and cloud services enabling the storage of the data. Negotiations also on this directive continue with the European Parliament.
Inquiries: Lauri Koskentausta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Justice, tel. +358 295 150 131, and Eeva Aittoniemi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 150 170
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