A resolution on the European Union (EU)’s List of High Risk Jurisdictions for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) was among the outcomes agreed to by Ministers of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) at their 111th Council of Ministers session held virtually on 14, 15 and 17 December 2020.
The EU’s updated List of High Risk Jurisdictions for AML/CFT purposes in force from October 1, 2020 includes several ACP states. Note that this list is different from the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.
Expressing concern about the list, the Council condemned the “unilateral, non-transparent and discriminatory approach” adopted by the EU in publishing the list especially in light of the socio-economic challenges wrought on the listed countries by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council therefore “recommends a programme of action to effect a reasonable comprise in response to the situation”. It is assumed that details of this programme of action will be worked out at a later date.
The meeting was chaired by H.E. Prof. Palamagamba John Aidan Mwaluko Kabudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, United Republic of Tanzania, and President-in-Office of the OACPS Council of Ministers.
The full paragraph on the EU blacklist from the OACPS press release is reproduced below:
The inclusion of Member States of the OACPS on the EU’s List of Third Countries at High Risk for Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Counter Terrorism (AML/CFT) continues to be a contentious issue for the OACPS despite the exchange of letters between the OACPS and the relevant EU institutions. In light of the existing situation, and recognizing that the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism is an immense global challenge and of equal concern to the OACPS as it is to the EU, the Council expressed its deep concern for the unilateral, non-transparent and discriminatory approach adopted by the EU in publishing the list of “small developing countries”, especially with respect to the additional socio-economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and recommends a programme of action to effect a reasonable compromise in response to the situation.
The Council of Ministers also endorsed the Political Agreement of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement concluded on December 3, 2020. The new partnership agreement, which replaces the Cotonou Agreement, will be signed in Apia, Samoa in January 2021. They also approved decisions for restructuring the OACPS, as well as a resolution in support of action on fisheries subsidies.
According to the press release, the signed list of decisions and resolutions will be posted on the OACPS’ website at a later date.
Read the full OACPS statement here.
Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. All views herein expressed are her personal views and should not be attributed to any institution with which she may from time to time be affiliated. You can read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.