New rules improving law enforcement authorities’ access to financial information to investigate serious crimes or terrorism were approved by Civil Liberties Committee.

Financial data can offer valuable information to law enforcement authorities and can help them prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute serious crime and terrorism. The new rules aim to improve law enforcement authorities’ access to information and the cross-border exchange of financial information between EU authorities.

The new rules agreed on Monday by the Civil Liberties Committee would:

facilitate the competent law enforcement authorities’ access to bank account information on a case-by-case basis,

provide for better cooperation between member states and between law enforcement authorities and the national Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and

provide for deadlines on exchanging information to improve and speed up the process.

“The fight against serious crime often depends on timely access to information and on how well competent authorities understand money flows. That is why we need to strengthen the cooperation between financial intelligence units and competent authorities, while preserving their operational independence and autonomy,” said rapporteur Emil Radev (EPP, BG).

The draft report was approved by 29 to 2, with 6 abstentions. The committee also approved a mandate to start informal talks with the Council, which can start as soon as Parliament as a whole gives its green light.