In order to better prevent money laundering, in addition to establishing an effective legal framework, EU member states must be allowed to maintain flexibility in order to be able to quickly implement measures on the national level.
"The fight against money laundering and terrorist financing must be taken very seriously, as it deeply affects society's sense of justice," Helme said at a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) of the EU in Luxembourg on Thursday, according to a ministry press release.
"This is a form of crime that is extremely adaptable in circumventing the rules," he continued. "It is important to effectively implement existing rules and, in the further harmonization of EU rules, maintain member states' flexibility in order to be able to quickly implement measures in accordance with their particular situations."
According to the minister, transnational cooperation needs to be taken to a new level in order to be more effective on the international level together in the fight against money laundering.
The finance ministers likewise heard the European Court of Auditors' presentation of its annual report on the implementation of the 2018 EU budget, as well as a report by the Wise Persons' Group (WPG) on the European financial architecture for development on how to increase the efficiency of European development cooperation and aid.
The Eurogroup reached an agreement Wednesday regarding the principles of the management and financing of the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness.
The finance ministers also received an overview of a post-program review in Portugal, according to which the latter's economy is recovering, and the risk that Portugal might struggle to fulfill its debt obligations is low.
Chairpersons of the Single Resolution Board and the Single Supervisory Mechanism likewise provided a periodic overview of the banking union, and participating ministers also endorsed the candidacy of a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Editor: Aili Vahtla