Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Position: United Nations 2nd Committee: Resolution on llicit financial flows

New York, 27/11/2019 - 22:58, UNIQUE ID: 191202_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

27 November 2019, New York – European Union Explanation of Position delivered by Peggy Vissers, European Union Delegation, on behalf of the EU and its Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee, 26th meeting on the Resolution on Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on asset return to foster sustainable development

Mr Chairman,


I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.


The Candidate Countries, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.


Mr Chairman,

Let me start by thanking the Secretariat, the Facilitator and the G77 coordinator for their tireless work on this resolution.  

The EU welcomes the adoption of this Resolution and reconfirms its commitment to combatting Illicit Financial Flows. However, while we joined consensus on this resolution, we would like to emphasize the significant flexibility we have shown in order to reach a consensus-based text.  We accepted language from sources that did not enjoy consensus elsewhere. We hope that future negotiations will not bring back such issues, and instead focus on concrete and practical steps we can take to combat Illicit Financial Flows, including by improving anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing standards, and law enforcement agency cooperation.


In this respect, we would also like to stress the importance of coordination with and recognition of the important work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Given that Financial Action Task Force has recently addressed the issue of virtual assets, we regret that certain Member States view the inclusion of Financial Action Task Force standards as problematic and that the reference to the Financial Action Task Force was left out of the resolution in order to find consensus.


The EU supports the call for strengthening good practices on assets return as they contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, especially SDG 16.4. At the same time we need to fully respect the existing legal instruments in this field as they stand. These instruments include the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which has a specialized mandate for fostering asset return. However, since Illicit Financial Flows cover a much broader variety of phenomena than asset return, the focus should neither be narrowed, nor limited, to the latter. The EU, therefore, regrets that we could not agree on changing the title which still includes this limitation and does not reflect all the issues contained in the text.


Mr Chairman,

I also want to address directly the issue which led to the EU and various like-minded partners breaking silence: the creation of further reporting. We believe that the Financing for Sustainable Development Report is the right place to consider holistically all of the issues covered by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. As such, we want to emphasize the importance of the ongoing work by the Inter-Agency Task Force, and note that the inclusion of Illicit Financial Flows in two existing reports should be done in consultation with the relevant entities.


Let me also reiterate our commitment to revitalize the work of the Second Committee in full support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We are firmly committed to combatting Illicit Financial Flows. However we remain convinced that the Illicit Financial Flows resolution is a clear candidate for bi- or even triennialization as different topics contained in this resolution are covered also by our third committee colleagues on a bi-annual basis and this periodicity would also give us the opportunity to include more substance the next time we cover Illicit Financial Flows.


Mr Chairman,

I want to finish by reiterating the EU’s commitment to combatting Illicit Financial Flows, and our thanks to the Secretariat, facilitator and G77 coordinator.


Thank you.


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