The European Parliament is against the EC’s decision to take Gib out of the “high risk” list.

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The European Parliament on Tuesday opposed the European Commission’s decision to remove Gibraltar from its list of high-risk countries with “strategic deficiencies” in mechanisms to counter money laundering and terrorist financing [AML/CFT].

No.6 Convent Place expressed disappointment with the development, adding the vote in respect of Gibraltar was “poisoned” by politics and based on “a fiction”, not technical assessment.

The Commission took the decision to remove Gibraltar from its list last March based on information from the Financial Action Task Force, which had earlier removed Gibraltar from its own “grey list” of high-risk countries.

In line with FATF developments, the Commission also struck Panama, the United Arab Emirates, Barbados, and Uganda from its list.

However, MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted against the Commission’s stance regarding each of those nations, with 490 voting in favor of the motion against the decision, 64 voting against it, and 56 abstaining.

Although Spanish MEPs from the Partido Popular, Vox, and Ciudadanos—among them the PP hawk Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo—amended the initial motion, it did not mention Gibraltar.

The European Parliament’s vote, the Gibraltar government stated, left it “disappointed” and that it had no bearing on the FATF’s decision to take Gibraltar off its “grey” list.

According to No. 6 Convent Place, the FATF ruling came after a period of “rigorous” examination and close technical examination of every facet of Gibraltar’s AML/CFT system.

This includes a FATF team’s on-site assessment conducted in December of last year.

The government also mentioned that the Expert Group on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing of the European Commission conducted evidence-based consultations prior to the European Commission’s decision to remove Gibraltar from the EU list.

At the opening of the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, the Commission vehemently reiterated that stance.

In stark contrast, it is evident from No. 6’s statement in response to the development that the European Parliament’s position is not the product of any technical examination.

“It is also not the outcome of a thorough assessment or inquiry into the operations of the Gibraltarian authorities.”

Rather, it is a politically tainted stance spread by adversarial Partido Popular, Vox, and Ciudadanos figures in the European Parliament, among them MEP Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo.

“This is not shocking at all.”

Nevertheless, the government stated that it was still “extremely concerned” about a particular aspect of the parliament’s criticism, which implied Gibraltart had made it easier for Russia to evade sanctions.

Given the numerous high-profile enforcement actions taken in Gibraltar concerning the assets held by designated individuals in support of the UK and EU Sanctions Regimes—the latter of which Gibraltar vigorously enforced in a completely voluntary manner as a result of a unilateral decision made by HM Government of Gibraltar—this fiction could not be further from reality, according to No. 6.

“The value that ought to be placed on the European Parliament’s decision is reflected in itself in this baseless, completely unfounded, and gratuitous accusation.”

“The Government is bringing up this claim at the highest political level because it will not allow Gibraltar’s good name to be even slightly linked to efforts to support Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.”

The government would urge the European Commission to make a fresh determination to take Gibraltar off the EU list, and it would anticipate that this decision would be made soon.

To clarify, No. 6 stated that Gibraltar will continue to be excluded from the FATF’s list and that “none of these developments has any bearing on the FATF’s reasoned and considered position on Gibraltar.”

“The ongoing discussions about Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU are unaffected by these developments either.”

“And none of this will stop Gibraltar from actively supporting its partners, including the EU, on geopolitical issues, including the war on Ukraine, or from enthusiastically carrying out its excellent work on enforcing its world-class AFT/CFT regime.”

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