Migration and Home Affairs

Public Consultations

Monday, 8 January, 2018
Broadening law enforcement access to centralised bank account registries

This page's content in other EU languages

Policy field(s) 

Borders and Security

Period of consultation 

From 17.10.2017  to 09.01.2018 

Context of the consultation

With the use of modern technology, money can be transferred from one bank to another around the world in a matter of minutes. At the same time, it may take investigators weeks to follow bank transactions between countries and understand to whom money has been transferred.  
Organised crime and terrorist groups operate internationally on a regular basis and are usually active in more than one Member State. Their investments and assets, including bank accounts, are usually in various Member States, and often outside of the European Union.  
In order to combat organised crime effectively, there is a need to speed up financial investigations, so that the proceeds of crime (including money deposited in bank accounts) can be traced, frozen and confiscated even when transferred to bank accounts located in different countries. 
Investigators need to find out whether a suspect in an investigation owns (or can make transactions from) bank accounts in your country, or to identify who owns (or can make transactions from) a specific bank account (or accounts) in your country. 
If your country does not have a centralised bank account registry yet, or if certain investigating authorities in your country do not have access to the centralised registry, an investigator, instead of consulting the registry and contacting directly the bank(s) concerned has to send a request to all banks (a so-called "blanket request"). Then, the investigator needs to wait for all the banks to reply to his request in order to have a picture as complete as possible on the bank accounts owned or operated by the investigated person.  Each bank must respond to the investigator's request, in most cases replying that the investigated person is not one of their clients. This procedure may take several weeks and this exchange of correspondence may be substantial if multiplied for the number of requests that all relevant authorities could make. 
EU legislation will soon establish centralised bank account registries in all countries and grant access to the authorities responsible for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. The European Commission considers granting access to these registries also to the police when investigating serious crimes, to the authorities that identify and trace criminal assets or investigate corruption and financial crime cases. 
This initiative is in line with the EU Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing (COM (2016) 50 final) which was presented by the Commission in February 2016. This new proposal would aim at facilitating financial investigations on serious crimes and disrupting the activities of organised crime and terrorist groups. It should help investigators in the European Union to be more efficient in identifying bank and payment account information by addressing directly the bank(s) that have the information they seek.

Objectives of the consultation

The aim of the consultation is to collect opinions on possible new EU legislation broadening the access to centralised bank and payment account registries to a targeted number of public authorities in order to disrupt the activities of organised crime groups and terrorists. 
This public consultation forms part of a broader consultation strategy aiming at giving stakeholders the opportunity to present their views before the Commission finalises its proposal.

Target group(s)

All EU and non-EU citizens having (or being empowered to act on) a bank account, and other stakeholders are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are sought from individuals, public authorities, international and regional organisations, law enforcement agencies, the banking sector, consumer associations and civil society.

How to submit your contribution

You can contribute to this public consultation by filling in the online questionnaire available in all official EU languages. You may pause at any time and continue later. Once you have submitted your answers, you can download a copy of your contribution.
In order to ensure a fair and transparent consultation process, only responses received through our online questionnaire will be taken into account. Exceptions will be made only for duly justified cases (e.g. impaired persons). You can upload a document (e.g. a position paper) at the end of the questionnaire. Contributions received are intended for publication on the Internet "as submitted" and this respondent by respondent and question by question on the Commission's websites. When answering the questionnaire, you will be given the possibility to indicate whether you agree to the publication of your individual responses under your name or anonymously. It is important to read the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with. 
Contributions may be submitted in any EU official language. Given possible delays in translating comments submitted in some languages, contributions in English are welcome, as they will help the Commission to process results more swiftly. 
In the interests of transparency, organisations (including, for example, NGOs, trade associations and commercial enterprises) are invited to provide the public with relevant information about themselves by registering in the Interest Representative Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.
If you are a Registered organisation, please indicate the name and address of your organisation and your Register ID number on the first page of your contribution. Your contribution will then be considered as representing the views of your organisation. If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to register now. Then return to this page to submit your contribution as a Registered organisation. Responses from organisations not registered will be published separately. 

Consultation outcome

The results of this public consultation have been taken into account when developing policy in the area of providing law enforcement authorities with access to information, contained in centralised bank account registries, for the purposes of preventing, detecting, investigating or prosecuting serious criminal offences.

The responses received are available as a detailed list (Excel), together with a factual summary report (PDF). Some personal data has been removed from the responses received and some answers have been anonymised at the request of the respondent. The text of the questionnaire (PDF) is available for information.

Protection of your personal data

The policy on "protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions" is based on Regulation (EC) N° 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000.

Important notice:

As part of the European Transparency Initiative, organisations are invited to use the Register of interest representatives to provide the European Commission and the public at large with information about their objectives, funding and structures, by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.

  • If you are a registered organisation, please fill in your Register ID number in the questionnaire. Your contribution will then be considered as representing the views of your organisation.
  • If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to register now. Then return to this page to submit your contribution as a registered organisation.

If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the Commission's stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions (Consultation Standards, see COM (2002) 704, and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see COM (2007) 127 of 21/03/2007). These replies will be published separately.

For more detailed information on the protection of your personal data, please read this consultation's specific privacy statement.

Reference documents 

For more information on this consultation and the possible legislative proposal please read the Inception Impact Assessment.

Contact details

  • responsible service:
    European Commission
    Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs
    Unit D3 – Organised Crime and Drugs Policy
  • e-mail: