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EU finance ministers discussed anti-money laundering and climate change mitigation

EU2019FIMinistry of Finance 5.12.2019 15.47
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Finland’s Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä at the meeting
Photo: European Union

On 5 December, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) agreed the coming years’ priorities in anti-money laundering, deepening of the capital markets union and climate change mitigation. The meeting was held in Brussels and was chaired by Finland’s Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä.

The Council adopted conclusions on strategic priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The priorities for the coming years are

  • further EU harmonisation of the legislation
  • enhanced supervision
  • more effective cooperation and information exchange between authorities
  • exploring the possibility of an independent EU supervisory body.

During its Presidency, Finland has emphasised the importance of the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The ministers also approved a joint statement of the Council and the European Commission on ‘stablecoins’, which are a category of crypto-assets. Crypto-assets are virtual means of payment that circulate from one holder to another without any centralised accounting.

Enhanced access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises

The Council adopted conclusions on the deepening of the EU’s capital markets union, which is one of the objectives of Finland’s Presidency.

The aims of deepening the capital markets union include enhancing access to finance especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, and encouraging retail investors to invest in the capital market. It will also support digitalisation and sustainable development.

Continued promotion of sustainable finance and further focus on other climate action

The finance ministers discussed the future agenda for sustainable finance. The aim is to direct additional private capital towards investments that are sustainable in climate terms. A taxonomy for the classification of sustainable investments is currently being negotiated by the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Climate change was highlighted more broadly when the ministers approved the Council’s work plan on climate action. Based on the work plan, possible topics of future discussion by ministers include sustainable finance, green budgeting, carbon pricing, green taxation and environmentally harmful subsidies.

I consider it important that Finland is making a strong contribution to the work on climate action by the finance ministers, and that climate matters are to become an established part of the agenda of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, in line with the aims of our Presidency.
– Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä

Inquiries

Susanna Ikonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 2955 30049, susanna.ikonen(at)vm.fi

Mika Lintilä