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BREAKING: Frankfurt wins backing of EU governments for AMLA, vote of European Parliament awaited

By STEPHEN RAE for AML Intelligence

FRANKFURT today won the vote of the European Council to host AMLA – but the full result is still awaited from the European Parliament.

Earlier Frankfurt, Paris, Rome and Vilnius got to the final 4 in vote to host Europe’s new AML Authority (AMLA).

The strong performance by Germany makes it the firm favourite. Paris could still emerge as a winner but that is increasingly unlikely.

Spain will be very disappointed with result at Council level but could pick up votes from the European Parliament later. Ireland is down and out.

Round 1 Council voting was:

  • TOP 4:
  • Frankfurt 49
  • Paris 28
  • Rome 19
  • Vilnius 19
  • Dublin 15
  • Vienna 12
  • Riga 9
  • Madrid 6
  • Brussels 5


Earlier in the week, officials said Frankfurt and Madrid were the two frontrunners ahead of Thursday’s vote to decide the location of Europe’s new AML Authority (AMLA).

Paris was also in contention as President Emmanuel Macron cranked up his famous political charisma behind the French capital.

There was a major blow for Dublin however when two of the major European Parliament political groups, the EPP and S&D failed to shortlist the Irish capital.

The vote takes place in Brussels at 18.00 tomorrow.

The European Parliament and the European Council each have 27 votes which will determine which of the nine competing cities wins.

The various political groupings in the Parliament groups will decide which city they will opt for at meetings tomorrow (Wednesday).

By size the groups are divided into:

  • European People’s Party (EPP)
  • Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
  • Renew Europe Group – SHORTLISTED: Paris, Madrid, Dublin, Frankfurt
  • Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance –SHORTLISTED: Paris, Madrid
  • European Conservatives and Reformists Group Identity and Democracy Group
  • The Left Group – GUE/NGL – SHORTLISTED: Dublin

The EPP, the biggest block has still not decided where its votes will land but there is strong back in the group for Paris and Madrid.

Parliament gained a significant win earlier this week when the Council conceded the vote should be secret ballot. Some national governments wanted a public vote which was resisted by MEPs.

On Tuesday, some French MEPs in the Renew Europe group called for Frankfurt to be removed from the voting, citing its most recent poor FATF rankings.

“The decision will be made on Thursday. It’s unlikely to be pushed out again. At the same time the parties are still only working out the voting mechanism,” one MEP told AML Intelligence.

Another MEP confirmed to AML Intelligence that Frankfurt and Madrid remain the frontrunners to win the prize.

“Both countries have considerable numbers in the European Parliament and they also have big influence in the Council,” the MEP said. “It’s theirs to lose.”

Nonetheless, the vote is far from certain.

“A lot of EU countries on the Council have still not made up their mind on the decision. So it is still all to play for,” a Council source told AML Intelligence.

On Thursday afternoon a press conference will be held following the selection of the seat of AMLA.

Speakers include European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness along with MEPs Eva-Maria Poptcheva and Emil Radev, the parliament’s co-Rapporteurs and Willem van de Voorde, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the EU on behalf of the European Council.

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