Barry Andrews, MEP for Dublin, has been advocating for Ireland’s bid to host the EU’s new Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) in Dublin, which could bring at least 400 jobs to the capital. Recently, Minister Michael McGrath and representatives from the Department of Finance presented Ireland’s application to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
Expressing optimism about Ireland’s application, Andrews remarked, “With the European Parliament and the Council hosting hearings for all nine applicants, I am optimistic about Ireland’s application. I believe it is time for Ireland to be awarded a leading EU Authority like AMLA. Having met the criteria set out by the Commission, I hope representatives from the Parliament and Council will recognise that Dublin is the most appropriate city for this new Authority.”
Having hosted an event in the European Parliament on December 5th 2023 entitled “Why Ireland should host Europe’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority?” Andrews lobbied support from various financial industry leaders and financial services attachés representing other European Member States. He stressed the significance of such gatherings, stating, “We need to make noise in Brussels, ensuring Ireland’s argument to host AMLA resonates with other MEPs in the capital.”
“Having commemorated 50 years of EU membership, hosting AMLA would mark a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to the European project,” stated Andrews. He added, “Despite being one of the EU’s major success stories, Ireland currently does not host any major EU authority. AMLA’s presence in Dublin would not only contribute to the city’s economic growth but also enhance its standing as a major financial hub within the European Union.”
The Parliament and Council will hold a secret ballot vote on the 22nd of February, to decide where AMLA will be located. Each body will have 27 votes to allocate as they choose. Andrews has raised concerns about how votes are allocated, as some countries with more MEPs could have an advantage, insisting on a transparent process for the distribution of MEP votes.
Despite this, Andrews is optimistic the Irish application, “With over 500 global financial institutions, including 17 of the top 20 global banks provides an ideal backdrop for the effective operations of AMLA. The linguistic advantage, being the sole fully English-speaking country vying for AMLA, enhances Ireland’s communication proficiency with entities set to undergo direct supervision.”
AMLA will directly supervise high-risk financial entities to address the current disparity in money laundering and terrorism financing oversight across EU Member States. Andrews emphasised Dublin’s suitability for hosting AMLA, citing Ireland’s global connectivity and historical ties with the UK and US as advantageous. “Hosting AMLA in Dublin presents a strategic opportunity to align major financial jurisdictions with the EU’s unified rulebook, bolstering efforts to combat financial crimes effectively.”
Andrews concluded, “Ireland, with its global connectivity and historical relationships, is well-positioned to contribute to AMLA’s success. Hosting AMLA in Dublin aligns with the EU’s goal of evenly spreading European institutions across Member States and reinforces Ireland’s commitment to the highest standards of financial integrity and security within the EU.”