New rules on freezing and confiscating assets across EU borders enter into application

As of tomorrow, the regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders will start applying in the EU. With these new rules, it will be easier for EU Member States to cooperate on freezing and confiscating criminal assets located in different Member States. Confiscating assets generated by criminal activities is an important tool in fighting organised crime and terrorism. Beefing up the EU rules in this regard was one of the key element of the Commission efforts to fight terrorist financing. Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said, “With these new rules, the EU is delivering on its promise to go after the money of criminals and terrorists. This will strengthen our hand in the fight against terrorist financing cross-border and make it harder for terrorists and criminals to function in Europe. At the same time, it will also provide more rights for victims when it comes to compensation for damages and retrieving their assets.”  It is estimated that 98.9% of possible criminal profits are not confiscated and remain at the disposal of criminals. This means that they can use those funds to commit new crimes. The new regulation will replace the existing rules closing any gaps and potential loopholes exploited by criminals. The new rules will also ensure the rights of victims to restitution and compensation in cross-border cases. They also include safeguards ensuring that mutual recognition of freezing or confiscation orders are in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.  The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union 24 months ago, following the agreement and formal adoption by the Council and the European Parliament. As of tomorrow, the regulation will apply between Member States (except Denmark and Ireland).  More information can be found here