The EESC notes that the proposal for a directive aims to generate added value by providing a harmonised approach that strengthens domestic and cross-border cooperation in financial investigations on serious crimes and terrorism.
Nonetheless, the EESC considers that the proposal for a directive should strike a better balance between the fundamental rights of individuals and the need for better law enforcement in combating and prosecuting crime.
The Committee considers that the directive needs to restrict itself solely to detecting and prosecuting offences, and not, in principle, extend to overly generic preventive purposes.
The EESC makes a number of specific recommendations, including to amend the definitions in Article 2 (e) "law enforcement information" and (l) "serious criminal offences", so as to ensure the clarity, predictability and proportionality of the rules establishing the mechanisms for access to the financial data of EU citizens.
Furthermore, the EESC calls on the Commission to regulate the purpose of access to the data contained in the national centralised bank account registries by limiting access for preventive purposes to crimes that affect the collective and individual security of European citizens (i.e.: terrorism, human trafficking and drug trafficking) and allowing access for the purposes of detecting, investigating or prosecuting or recovering the proceeds of offences for all serious crimes.