Spain increases pressure to have EU anti-money laundering HQ in capital

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Spain is increasingly confident the headquarters of the EU’s new anti-money laundering authority (AMLA) should be in Madrid.

None of the EU’s 35 decentralised agencies are located in the Spanish capital, despite the fact Spain has the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone.

It does host three EU agencies outside Madrid, but none of them are related to the economic or financial field.

The plan is for AMLA to have 150 staff in its first year of operation and between 300 and 350 in the following two years, before “probably” reaching 400, according to a European Commission memo dated 10 May.

Madrid has already offered a 50-storey skyscraper as part of its Brussels charm offensive, but it’s not alone in expressing its intention to apply.

Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Vienna, Riga, and Vilnius are also competing for the agency.

But the allocation will take into account the geographical distribution of existing European agencies, which would make the first three less viable.

Ireland will be applying too, but has not specified whether the candidate city will be its capital, which already hosts Eurofound, or another city.

The Hague was originally in the running, but later withdrew its interest due to fierce competition from other EU members.

The application process will open any day now.

It will end in the coming months before the European elections (June 2024), which could overlap with the Spanish EU presidency.

Read more via EU Observer

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