Article from De Andere Krant of 09-10-2021
The EU is preparing to record all possessions of citizens in a register. "Against money laundering." But the register will also be able to be used for other purposes.
On July 16, 2021, the European Commission's Directorate General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets (DG FISMA) opened a tender procedure for a "Feasibility Study on a European Asset Register in the context of the fight against money laundering and tax avoidance." That register will be housed by a European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA). It will link all national registries of real estate, businesses, bank accounts, vaults and crypto-currencies, complemented by "access to data on other sources of wealth (e.g. movable property, life insurance, securities and luxury goods)." The latter includes art, cars, jewelry and gold.
The ANP already reported on July 20 that Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra welcomed the initiative: "I am pleased that the committee has made proposals to better tackle money laundering and terrorist financing." Wopke Hoekstra prefers to see AMLA based in the Netherlands. Although the implications of this initiative for the privacy of citizens are enormous, it received hardly any attention in the media. Only the trade press picked it up, but was silent about the possible consequences for ordinary citizens. One exception is Paul Buitink who asked in BNR Cryptocast No. 185: "All your possessions in a European register – Do we want that?"
Alarm bells did go off in Germany – which experienced what hyperinflations, money reforms and wealth transfers bring about between 1914 and 1952. The leading journalist Norbert Haering spoke of the great dragnet that would bring together all information on small and medium-sized assets of all citizens in a huge database without touching gaps for the rich. The widely read weekly Focus saw a danger for politically disliked citizens and journalists and even called for civil disobedience. "A giant step toward communist dictatorship" (report24.news), "Threatened expropriations and wealth transfer" (schildverlag.de), were other headlines
MEP Markus Ferber (CSU/EPP) voiced strong criticism. European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness stated that "The Commission has never suggested the need for such an asset register." The European Parliament asked for the study, not the Commission, she soothed.
But how credible is that? Indeed, shortly thereafter, the European Data Protection Supervisor – The EU's independent data protection authority (edps.europa.eu) welcomed not only the study, but also the measures, in a September 24 press release. This shows that the proposal is a comprehensive coherent package involving a large number of organizations and activities.
The implication of the whole is that what is not on the register will soon have to be accounted for, otherwise it may be seized as unmanaged property.