The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on February 21 agreed that the only way to cut off the flow of funds to terrorists is for European Union countries to share intelligence more proactively and track transactions more closely.
According to the MEPs, this means targeting sources of funding such illicit trade in goods, firearms, oil, drugs, cigarettes and cultural objects, but also slavery and child exploitation.
They also said that funding for terrorist groups is supplied not only from outside Europe, but also within it, for example by international non-profit organisations, charities, foundations and networks, acting as a cover for abusive practices.
“We adopted a new ‘microfinance’ approach aimed at cutting off transfers of funds to jihadi terrorist groups,” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur Javier Nart (ALDE, ES). “A common information platform and coordination centre for intelligence services, checks on anonymous debit cards, registration of hawala and similar practices, and monitoring funds received by cultural and worship centres, are just some of the proposals in this recommendation.”
The Foreign Affairs Committee’s recommendation on cutting off sources of income for terrorists was passed by 55 votes to 1, with 5 abstentions. The full house is expected to vote on the final text at its next week’s mini-plenary session in Brussels.