The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) has called on the European Council and the European Parliament to help with the opening of bank accounts of members closed by Belgian banks.
Belgian banks have since 2021 closed banks of OACPS accredited to the Kingdom of Belgium and/or the European Union due to the application of European Union (EU) law on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
While noting that discussions had started with the Belgian Federation of the Financial Sector (Febelfin) and ongoing with a view to finding solutions, efforts made to the Belgian political and monetary authorities and to the EU “have so far failed to resolve the issue.”
The Organisation has, therefore, urged that: “The European Council and the European Parliament address this issue in the context of the 2021 Spring Package on AML/CFT, currently under examination, in order to find a mutually satisfactory solution.”
The Ministers of the OACPS at the 114th Session of the Council of Ministers, therefore, asked the Committee of Ambassadors to prioritise the finding of a mutually agreeable solution for the banks affected.
The Organisation also said that members were committed at the highest political level to combat illicit financing flows, including addressing the critical issues of AML/CFT.
OACPS noted that it was noteworthy that the Kingdom of Belgium, as host country, had a responsibility under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to ensure the smooth functioning of Diplomatic Missions accredited to the Kingdom.
They explained that the approaches made to the EU and the Belgian authorities were not intended to seek an exceptional treatment for the diplomatic missions affected by the application of the law.
It emphasised that such efforts were aimed at finding practical solutions to enable diplomatic missions to continue to access adequate financial services and perform their functions.
Furthermore, the diplomatic missions were concerned about the reputational damage arising from their inability to conduct the necessary financial transactions in a prompt and transparent manner.