ABU DHABI, (Pakistan Point News - 13th Jul, 2021) The third session of the European Union (EU) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) structural dialogue took place on 8th July. The meeting was co-chaired by Amna Fikri, Director of the Economic and Trade Affairs Department, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC); and Raluca Pruna, Head of the Financial Crime Unit, the EU Commission Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and the Capital Markets Union.
Attendees included Hamid Al Zaabi, the Director-General of the Executive Office for Anti- Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). Other key UAE participants who spoke included Huda Belhoul from the Executive Office for AML/CFT; Amira Ahmed from the UAE Central Bank; Safeya Al Safi from the Ministry of Economy; and Ali Ba’alawi from the Financial Intelligence Unit. There were also other attendees from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, and the Federal Customs Authority.
Areas of specific discussion and focus included: the upcoming EU Legislative Package on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the UAE’s efforts and progress on developing an effective AML/CFT framework, the importance of an active and engaged partnership between the public and private sectors and the many practical actions being taken to deepen this important dialogue, beneficial ownership regulation, whereby UAE ownership data will be collected by each licensing authority and ultimately held in the National Economic Register by the Ministry of Economy, deepening a range of international cooperation and information-sharing initiatives and platforms between the EU and UAE technical authorities on AML/CFT, the UAE’s risk assessment and progress regarding applying a risk-based approach, and EU/UAE cooperation in the field of counterterrorism.
They also discussed EU/UAE capacity building efforts through ongoing training sessions provided by the EU AML/CFT Global Facility for a number of key UAE stakeholders. This also included a discussion on the potential of exchange visits between the two sides in the near future.
The third session of the EU-UAE Structural Dialogue followed the second session of the Dialogue, which took place on 11th November 2020. The purpose of the Structural Dialogue is to enable open dialogue on international best practices relating to AML/CFT policies.
Amna Fikri said, "On behalf of the Government of the UAE, I wish to thank colleagues from the European Commission, as well as the Delegation of the European Union to the UAE, for inviting us here today. The UAE sees great value in this platform. I find it remarkable how this Dialogue has evolved over only one year – our first session was last July – to achieve a number of significant tangible outcomes, including the provision of impactful training sessions led by experts from the EU Global Facility."
Safeya Al Safi added, "As of today, 88 percent of companies in the UAE have registered their Beneficial Ownership information in a consolidated database overseen by the Ministry of Economy. This success is a reflection of the Ministry’s supervision efforts, which aim to ensure there is accurate information on all companies operating in the UAE. We are grateful for the opportunity to engage with our EU counterparts and to hear from them on how we can further minimise the misuse of legal persons for the purpose of money laundering."