Financing democracy: tackling illicit financial flows

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Financing democracy: tackling illicit financial flows

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Corruption, illicit financial flows (IFFs) and other economic crimes have been a priority for the EU and its partners for decades. The establishment of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in 1999 marked the beginning of the systematic monitoring of anti-corruption in Europe. Fighting IFFs is a central element of reducing transnational organised crime, as they are often related to a range of criminal activities including drug or human trafficking, counterfeit, illegal firearm sales etc.

Diverting funds from public services and stunting the socio-economic development of source countries, IFFs are highly criminal activities. They disproportionately affect low income countries and profit to the global North’s economies. Weak governance and shortcomings in transborder cooperation create the perfect environments for IFFs and corruption to thrive. The pandemic has provided an additional opportunity for international criminal organisations, misappropriating aid and recovery funds as enforcement forces are distracted with pandemic fallout. This further underlines the need for a coordinated approach to prevent it impeding further the recovery of countries in the global South. While international organisations such as the OECD, Europol and the G7’s Financial Action Task Force provide support and a much-needed aligned front – as evident in the recent agreement on a global minimum corporate tax rate – increased cooperation is still needed.

The EU-US Summit and the renewed transatlantic relationship have emphasised the need to prevent democratic backsliding and to fight corruption in financial systems, politics and the economy. To sustainably reverse the current trends, collaborative initiatives must be reinforced and an emphasis must also be placed on better governance and better tools to monitor IFFs. This closed-door expert briefing will foster an interactive discussion to explore how best to prevent and combat IFFs, highlighting successful collaborations and areas for better policymaking.

The event is part of our Security briefing-series. In each 60-minute session, members have a chance to put their questions to those who call the shots. Participation is by invitation-only.


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