About this consultation

Consultation period
27 February 2017 - 31 May 2017
Economy, finance and the euro

Consultation outcome

Results of the consultation

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An Impact Assessment, to be published in 2018, will elaborate on the way forward.

Target group

The general public and all other stakeholders.

The Commission will consult national authorities, experts and key stakeholders separately. Nevertheless, they are welcome to also contribute to this public consultation.

Objective of the consultation

Seek public opinion on a potential action of the Union to introduce restrictions to large payments in cash to counter terrorism financing.

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The Commission published on 2 February 2016 a Communication to the Council and the Parliament on an Action Plan to further step up the fight against the financing of terrorism (COM (2016) 50). This Action Plan states that "Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities… In this context, the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments could also be explored. Several Member States have in place prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold." On 12 February 2016 the Economic and Financial Affairs Council concurred and called on the Commission to explore the need for appropriate restrictions on cash payments exceeding certain thresholds.

Cash has the important feature of offering anonymity to transactions. Such anonymity can be misused. The possibility to conduct large cash payments in particular facilitates money laundering and terrorist financing activities because of the difficulty to control cash payment transactions.

Potential restrictions to cash payments would be a means to fight criminal activities entailing large payment transactions in cash by organised criminal networks. Restricting large payments in cash, in addition to cash declarations and other anti money laundering obligations, would hamper the operation of terrorist networks, and other criminal activities, and thus have a preventive effect. It would also facilitate further investigations to track financial transactions in the course of terrorist activities.

While a number of Member States already have (or have had) in place restrictions on cash payments as a measure to combat crime, this has not been addressed at Union level. The fragmentation and divergent nature of these measures has the potential of interfering with the proper functioning of the internal market. The purpose of the initiative under consideration is therefore to examine whether action at EU level is warranted and whether legislative or other measures stemming from such analysis should be initiated.

Inception Impact Assessment.