EU says crime not an issue as it grants corona crisis billions
22 May 2020

The European Union, about to splash out hundreds of billions to prevent its corona-hit economy from collapsing, assured the money would not end up in the wrong hands despite signs criminals are stepping up their game during the pandemic.

A Luxembourg Times investigation last month revealed shortcomings in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies at the European Investment Bank (EIB), triggering a group of twelve members of the European Parliament to address a letter to the bank’s president Werner Hoyer, demanding more answers about the matter.

But the European Commission at a press conference this week assured it was firmly in control of preventing the pandemic funds from abuse.

“We have all the budgetary management tools at our disposal and the system of monitoring of EU budget expenses is well-established and functional for many years if not decades,” Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commissioner in charge of financial services said.

The Commission, the EIB as well as the European Central Bank (ECB) each have their own financial tools at hand to help businesses and consumers overcome the shock from the pandemic, which has brought economic life to an almost complete standstill.

France and Germany have proposed a €500 billion rescue fund to give loans and grants to countries struck by the coronavirus crisis. The money would be part of the European Union’s budget and raised on financial markets by the European Commission.

The European Investment Bank – headquartered in Luxembourg – has carved out €25 billion to support companies hit by the crisis, with a focus on small-and-medium enterprises.

By Julie Edde, Luxembourg Times, 22 May 2020

Read more at Luxembourg Times

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