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Government disappointed at EU Parliament delisting vote - 283/2024

April 23, 2024

HM Government of Gibraltar notes, with disappointment, the European Parliament’s objection, today, to the entry into force of the European Commission’s decision to remove certain jurisdictions, including Gibraltar, from the EU’s list of ‘high-risk’ third-countries with strategic deficiencies as regards anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (“AML/CFT”).

The European Commission’s decision to remove Gibraltar from the EU list followed on from the Financial Action Task Force’s (the “FATF”) decision in February 2024 to remove Gibraltar from its own list of “Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring”. It should be recalled that the FATF’s decision with respect to Gibraltar took place after a period of intense technical scrutiny and meticulous evaluation into all aspects of Gibraltar’s AML/CFT regime, including a verification visit to Gibraltar carried out by FATF evaluators in December 2023. Moreover, it is understood that the European Commission’s decision to remove Gibraltar from the EU list took place after evidence-based consultation with the European Commission’s Expert Group on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. The Government notes that this position was strongly defended by the Commission at the outset of today’s European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

In sharp contrast, the European Parliament’s view is clearly not the result of any technical assessment. Neither is it the product of any in depth evaluation or investigation into the work of the Gibraltarian authorities. Instead, it is a position poisoned by politics, promulgated by hostile Partido Popular, Vox and Ciudadanos actors within the European Parliament, including Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo MEP. This comes as no surprise.

Nonetheless, the Government remains seriously concerned with the one reference to Gibraltar in the substantive part of the objection which suggests that Gibraltar has facilitated the evasion of sanctions imposed on Russia. This fiction could not be further from reality given the series of widely reported, high-profile enforcement activity taken in Gibraltar with respect to assets held by designated individuals in furtherance of both the UK and EU Sanctions Regimes – the latter vigorously followed in Gibraltar, wholly voluntarily, as a result of a unilateral decision taken by HM Government of Gibraltar. This baseless, totally unsubstantiated and gratuitous accusation is, in itself, reflective of the value which should be attached to the European Parliament’s decision.

The Government will not allow Gibraltar’s good name to be remotely associated with efforts to support Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and it will therefore be raising this claim at the highest political level.

The Government will call on the European Commission to adopt a new decision removing Gibraltar from the EU’s list, and it would expect this decision to be taken promptly.

For the avoidance of doubt, none of these developments have any bearing on the FATF’s reasoned and considered position on Gibraltar, meaning that Gibraltar will remain off the FATF’s list. Neither do these developments have any effect on ongoing negotiations with respect to Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU. And neither will any of this deter Gibraltar from enthusiastically continuing with its sterling work on enforcing its world class AFT/CFT regime or from actively supporting its partners, including the EU, on geopolitical issues including the war on Ukraine.