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Von der Leyen appoints European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness to head up bloc’s AML drive

By Elizabeth Hearst in Dublin

Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness has been appointed as EU Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and the Capital Markets Union – which includes spearheading Europe’s new AML drive.

Former Latvian Prime Minister, Valdis Dombrovskis who was serving as Commissioner for Economy has now taken up the trade portfolio.

McGuinness, a current First Vice President of the European Parliament, will now be responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union which will encompass Bank, insurance and financial crime including anti-money laundering and bank regulation. (Read her profile by Daniel Byrne and also the Irish troika leading the eurozone by Elizabeth Hearst also on AMLi)

McGuinness will also be responsible for Financial Markets, Financial systems and crisis management and general affairs. Dombrovskis will remain in charge of relations with the Eurogroup finance ministers.

McGuinness will oversee the upcoming sixth money laundering directive, which is due to be implemented by December 2020.

Von der Leyen, announced the appointment in a press conference broadcast live on Twitter. She praised both candidates who “showed great commitment to the European Union” and to the “function of Commissioner”. She added that they were both “excellent candidates” who had “significant experience with EU matters.

Von der Leyen described McGuinness as having “significant political experience on EU issues” as an MEP since 2004. She added that her previous experience was “crucial in carrying forward the EU’s financial policy agenda” and “ensuring it supports and strengthens the Commission’s key priority”.

Ireland’s Deputy PM Leo Varadkar congratulated McGuinness, and described the announcement as an “excellent appointment for Ireland in an excellent portfolio”. He added that “Ireland is fortunate to have people of this calibre representing us at a European level”.

McGuinness was appointed following the resignation of Ireland’s Phil Hogan, Commissioner for trade, following violations of current coronavirus guidelines last month.

McGuinness and Andrew McDowell, former Vice President of the European Investment Bank, were interviewed yesterday via video link by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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