The European Commission has adopted a package of measures to strengthen the EU’s capacity to fight the financing of terrorism, organised crime and money laundering.

In 2015 three chapters of Transparency International – in Bulgaria, Romania and Italy proposed recommendations for improvement of the current EU legal framework for freezing and confiscation of illicit assets through simplifying the procedures for mutual recognition of both freezing and confiscation orders issued in other Member States and adoption of minimum common standards.

The proposal for new Regulation to strengthen the mutual recognition of criminal asset freezing and confiscation orders widens the scope of the current rules on cross-border recognition covering all types of freezing and confiscation orders issued in the framework of criminal proceedings, including extended confiscation, third-party confiscation and non-conviction based confiscation. In order to speed and increase the efficiency of the mechanism the document provides for clear deadlines and standardised forms for mutual recognition of confiscation and freezing orders.

Although the proposal envisages only procedures for freezing and confiscation within the framework of criminal proceedings, we appreciate EC’s efforts and admit them as a step in the right direction. In case of Bulgaria, it is of considerable importance that similar mechanisms are established for confiscation based on civil proceedings. These will enhance the effectiveness of the Bulgarian Confiscation Act enforcement.