Fighting Money Laundering in the EU and Protecting the EU’s Financial Interests – An Attempt to Define an Integrated Approach
Research Area 2: Norms & Transgressions
The EU is currently undergoing several crises. Beyond the lingering economic crisis, a political crisis is caused by Euroscepticism and Brexit. The increasing terrorist threat adds to the challenges European integration is currently facing.
This research project aims at analyzing the fight against money laundering carried out by the EU, as well as the protection of the EU’s financial interests. Its goal is to demonstrate the need for an integrated approach to these two areas of European law. It will build upon analyses of the existing legal frameworks, as well as the various ongoing reform processes. Such an integrated approach requires the integration of the various aspects of the fights against both criminal offences, as well as further integration between these two areas. Furthermore, increased cooperation between the various actors involved in the fight is required, as well at the national level as at the European level -between national and European authorities.
The need to carry out this research stems from the various reforms currently being carried out.
The legal framework of the fight against money laundering is set by the successive EU Directives implementing the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations. The fifth Directive was adopted on 30 May 2018. The risk-based approach -first introduced by the fifth Directive in 2005- has been strengthened, as well as cooperation between the professionals -bankers, legal, real estate, insurance professionals, …and the authorities involved in the fight against money laundering -especially the Financial Intelligence Units-. According to the Action Plan on the fight against terrorist financing published by the European Commission in February 2016, the new Directive focuses on strengthening the fight against the financing of terrorism. Cooperation is the key to achieving this goal.
The Directive on Combating Money Laundering by Criminal Law was adopted on 23 October 2018, thus contributing to the harmonization of the definition of money laundering, as well as those of the various predicate offences. This new Directive represents a remarkable breakthrough thanks to harmonized definitions of some serious crimes, as provided for in Art. 83 TFEU. The Directive provides harmonized definitions of money laundering, terrorist financing, as well as minimal sanctions. It furthermore foresees criminal offences such as aiding, abetting, inciting and attempting to launder money, as well as the liability of legal persons involved in money laundering.
The Protection of the EU’s Financial Interests
The Directive on the Protection of the EU’s Financial Interests was adopted on 5 July 2017. VAT fraud is now included in its scope, in line with the famous Tarrico ruling -CJEU, 8 September 2015-. This Directive has, therefore, broadened the scope of the protection of the EU’s financial interests, thus expanding the jurisdiction of the forthcoming European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Regulation on the Establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office was adopted on 20 October 2017, thus putting an end to protracted negotiations at the Council. In line with the subsidiarity principle, the Office will have a decentralized structure comprising a limited central office, and a network of European Delegated Prosecutors embedded in national judicial systems. Throughout the course of the negotiations, Member States required the addition of national representatives. The latter will be called European Prosecutors and will make up the College -a body which can also be found within Eurojust-. Hence, the final structure of the EPPO can be described as a hybrid structure.
Given the failure to reach unanimity, the Regulation was adopted through enhanced cooperation, in line with Art. 86 TFEU. Twenty-two Member States are currently participating in the enhanced cooperation mechanism. Studying the relations between the European and national levels of the EPPO will allow us to shed light on the contribution of the EPPO to an integrated approach to the protection of the EU’s financial interests. The integration of the EPPO into national judicial systems will be made possible thanks to the European Delegated Prosecutors.
Moreover, the external dimension of the fight against these criminal offences is being reinforced. The Commission together with the High Representative published a Communication reexamining the
European Neighbourhood Policy on 18 November 2015. The Association Agreements signed with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in 2014 provide for cooperation in the fight against money laundering and corruption. Hence, the relations between the EU and its partner countries include cooperation in fighting major economic crimes. By subscribing to this trend, the EU follows in the UN’s footsteps. The fight against corruption is part of the UNGA’s Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted in September 2015.
2004: PhD in Public Law (First Class Honours with jury’s congratulations). Title of thesis: “Le droit communautaire de la concurrence et l’intérêt général”.
1999: Master’s Degree in European Law, Faculty of Law Aix-en-Provence – ranking 1st with honours
1998: Master’s Degree in Business Law, Institute of Business Law, University of Aix-en-Provence
1997: Graduate in Business Law, Faculty of Law, University of Aix-Marseille, with high honours.
1996: Graduate from the Institute of Political Studies of Aix-en-Provence, ranking 1st with honours.
Since September 2019: Lecturer “hors-classe” at Sciences-Po Aix-en-Provence, France
Since February 2008: Lecturer “classe normale” at Sciences-Po, Aix-en-Provence, France
Since December 2017: Director of Lifelong Learning Programme at Sciences-Po Aix-en-Provence
Teaching – Lectures
MA 2: Public Law (since 2007), Ethical Requirements and Fight Against Corruption (since 2015), EU Anti-Money Laundering Law (since 2006), EU Social Politics (since 2016)
MA 1: EU Policies against Tax Fraud and Corruption, The EU’s Role in the Fight against Corruption and Money Laundering, Politics of the EU, External Relations of the EU, France in a Global Context, EU Politics, Theories of European Integration (since 2012)
Jean Monnet Activities
- Since 2016: Member of the Jean Monnet Project “The Future of the European Union – The Future of the Eurozone – The Blueprint for a Political Union-” chaired by Professors Fausto de Quadro (University of Lisbon) and Dusan Sidjanski (University of Geneva) on behalf of former European Commission President José-Manuel Barroso
- Since September 2014: Jean Monnet’s chair: “European Union’s action in the fight against economical crime”
- EU Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering Law
- December 2018: “Strengthening the Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing: an Opportunity to Increase Cooperation at the European Level ?”, in “Libertés, (l)égalité, humanité”, a Tribute to President Jean Spreutels, Bruylant, Brussels, 2019, p. 943
- January 2018: “The Decentralized Structure of the EPPO from the Commission’s proposal to the Final Act “, EUCRIM, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, n°3/2017, p. 143
- January 2017: “The Fight against Money Laundering in the EU: The Framework Set by the Fourth Directive and its Proposed Enhancements’, EUCRIM, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, n° 4/2016, p. 170
- July 2016: « Ensuring Integrity in Public Procurement », conference proceedings, 12th International Symposium on Public Management, Institute for Public Management and Economic Development, French Ministry of Finance, 2016, Paris, p. 43
- March 2016: « The EPPO at the European Level: Institutional Layout and consequences on the Link with the National Level », in « The European Public Prosecutor’s Office and National Authorities », Ed. Celina Nowack, Coll Giustizia Penale Europea, Wolters Kluwer, CEDAM, 2016, p. 35
- April 2015: « The Legal Framework of Anti-Money Laundering in the EU », Revue de l’Union européenne, n° 587, April 2015, p. 217
- November 2013: « The Reform of the Fight against Money Laundering in the EU », EUCRIM, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, n° 3/2013, p 89