21/06/2018 - - Legislation
Crime will no longer pay: EU agree new rules on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders

On 20 June 2018, the Council, following a provisional agreement with the European Parliament, agreed on new rules concerning the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders. The new regulation aims to ensure the effective freezing and confiscation of criminal assets across the EU. This will contribute to making the EU more secure by combating the financing of crime, including terrorist activities.

"We are today sending a strong signal:
crime will no longer pay. Criminals will no longer be able to exploit loopholes
within the EU to move their assets and avoid freezing or confiscation orders.
It will also help us prevent that those funds are used to finance new criminal
activities, including terrorism."

Tsetska Tsacheva, Bulgarian minister of Justice

The main features of the new rules as agreed by both institutions include:

  • A single regulation covering freezing and confiscation
         orders, directly applicable in the EU. This will resolve the issues linked
         to the implementation of the existing instruments, which have led to
         insufficient mutual recognition.

  • The general principle of mutual recognition, meaning
         that all judicial decisions in criminal matters taken in one EU country
         will normally be directly recognised and, enforced by another member
         state. The regulation only sets out a limited number of grounds for
         non-recognition and non-execution. The institutions agreed on the
         inclusion of a ground for non-recognition based on fundamental rights but
         under very strict conditions.

  • A wide scope of types of confiscation in criminal
         matters such as value based confiscation and non-conviction based
         confiscation, including certain systems of preventive confiscation,
         provided that there is a link to a criminal offence.

  • Standard certificates and procedures to allow for
         speedy and efficient freezing and confiscation actions.

  • A deadline of 45 days for the recognition of a
         confiscation order and in urgent case a deadline of 48 hours for the
         recognition and 48 hours for the execution of freezing orders. Those
         limits can be postponed under strict conditions detailed in the

  • Provisions to ensure that victims' rights to
         compensation and restitution are respected in cross-border cases.

Next steps

After confirmation of the political agreement reached today by representatives of the Council
and the Parliament, the text will undergo linguistic revision and subsequently be formally
adopted by the two institutions.
The new rules will apply 24 months after the entry into force of the regulation.


20/6/2018 | PRESS RELEASE - Council of the European Union

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