Organized crime now knows no boundaries within or around the European Union.
The judicial means of dealing with it are, however, still very limited: a public prosecutor in a Member State may need years to track down a sum of money that a criminal organization is able to launder in a matter of seconds through an international transfer.
How can a common legal and judicial area be created that will give national authorities more effective means of tackling the problem, especially where it involves the finances of the Union?
On 15 and 16 April 1997, the European Parliament's Committees on Budgetary Control and on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs organized a hearing to debate this issue, with contributions from the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Commission, José María Gil-Robles and Jacques Santer, as well as the seven judicial officials who issued the 'Geneva Appeal' against international corruption.
The proceedings (PDF, 215 KB) of this hearing are available on EUROPARL.
European Parliament: 1998