Picture shown is for illustrative purposes only.
The European Union's largest states are pushing for the establishment of a new supervisory authority that would take over from states the oversight of money laundering at financial firms, after a series of scandals at the bloc's banks.
In a joint statement, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Latvia said the 28-country EU needed a "central supervisor" to tackle the flow of dirty money within the bloc's financial system.
The move comes after European lenders were shut down over money laundering in Latvia, Malta and Cyprus, while top banks from the Baltic and Northern Europe were involved in dodgy transactions worth billions of euros of Russian dirty money through the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, in what is seen as the worst money-laundering scandal on the continent.
The need for an EU supervisor emerged after repeated failures by national watchdogs at spotting and countering money laundering, the statement said.
"Where large financial interests are at stake, there is a risk of national supervisors being influenced directly or indirectly by supervised institutions or interest groups," the statement said.
The six countries said the new supervisor could be a new body or an existing watchdog, the European Banking Authority (EBA), which would need to be beefed up.
The call for change comes just few months after the bloc has agreed to overhaul EBA's mandate to give the watchdog new powers to tackle money laundering.
That reform, proposed by EU finance commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, a former prime minister of Latvia, quickly appeared as insufficient to many observers.
The move marks a major shift in Germany's position. While France, Italy and Spain have been calling for months for stronger rules against money laundering, Berlin had opposed more ambitious changes in recent overhauls.
The six states also call for new anti-money laundering rules, in what would be the sixth review of those provisions, just one year after their latest overhaul was agreed in a reform now judged as "not decisive" by the six countries.Reuters
The 28 EU leaders are trying to agree on who will steer the bloc over the coming years through the looming challenges of Brexit and the rise of populist parties in Europe.
Europe was bracing itself for a sweltering on Saturday as the heatwave continued across the continent. The Meteo-France weather service lifted its red warning but forecast
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Lebanon would suspend all trips to and from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, the hardest hit countries. It would also stop arrivals from France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has entered a new phase with the Omicron variant, which could infect 60 percent of people in Europe by March, and could bring it to an end, the WHO Europe director said on Sunday.
A deadly collision between an overspeeding motorcycle and a car in Los Angeles resulted in the death of the biker and minor injuries to the car passengers.
Bloc calls attacks on UAE "a flagrant violation of international law... and a real threat to vital civilian installations, energy supplies, and global economic stability."