We urge the BiH House of Peoples to schedule a session next week to adopt the Law on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). Only the final reading by the House of Peoples remains. The proposed law was drafted largely in accordance with European standards and presents clear benefits for BiH citizens and businesses.
The reason why a session in the week of 12-16 February is so urgent is that the Council of Europe’s MONEYVAL Committee arrives in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 12 February 2024 to evaluate whether BiH has reached satisfactory AML/CFT standards. If the draft Law is not in force before MONEYVAL ends its mission on 28 February, it will not be subject to their assessment. This increases the risk that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will place Bosnia and Herzegovina on its grey list and Bosnia and Herzegovina will appear on the EU list of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT system.
Placement on these lists would have political, economic and financial consequences for the country, affecting access to international financial markets and transactions, private commercial activities as well as public fiscal affairs. It could deter foreign investment and make international movement of capital more difficult.
Moreover, AML/CFT legislation has been repeatedly underlined, including by President von der Leyen during her recent visit, as one of the priorities alongside other pieces of legislation before the European Council in March considers whether to give a green light to Bosnia and Herzegovina to open accession negotiations. The BiH authorities need to demonstrate that their stated commitment to an EU future also includes a commitment to European standards. Time is of the essence.