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A police officer at work. ©BELGA/AFP/G.JULIEN        

Criminals have long sought to abuse the opportunities offered by an increasingly globalising world as shown by the 3,600 international criminal organisations now operating in the EU. The EP launched a special committee to investigate the problem and come up with the best possible ways to combat them.

Drug and cash        
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Measures to tackle organised crime, corruption and money laundering are set out in an EU action plan for 2014-2019 recommended by Parliament on Wednesday. Seizing the financial assets of organised crime networks and choking off their sources of income tops the list. Nearly 4000 international criminal organisations are said to be operating in the EU in 2013.

infographic about orgnaised crime        

About 3,600 international crime organisations operate in the EU. To address the problem, the EP's special organised crime committee spoke to 271 stakeholders over 18 months. This week it produced a report with recommendations on how to best fight organised crime at the European and global level. It will be voted on during the second plenary in October. Find out the shocking facts about international crime in our infographic.

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 Salvatore Iacolino        

The EP's special committee on organised crime approved its final report on 17 September after 18 months of work, setting out how the EU could tackle the problem more effectively. We spoke to report author Salvatore Iacolino, an Italian member of the EPP group, who stressed the recommendations in the report were ready to be carried out.

Sonia Alfano        

It's hard to imagine someone with a better background for chairing the EP's recently established a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering than Sonia Alfano. Not only is she from Sicily, but she has also been fighting organised crime ever since the mafia killed her father in 1993. According to the Liberal-Democrat MEP, her committee should provide - in cooperation with judicial and investigating authorities - the right instruments for combating the mafia.

View of the material seized by the Spanish National Police during the operation 'Emperador' (Emperor) that unveiled a network of money laundering and organized crime, in Madrid, Spain, on 16 October 2012. © BELGA_EFE_A.Diaz        

The crisis and new technologies have made it easier for criminals to launder money despite the current EU directives in place and the best efforts of law enforcement agencies. The Parliament's special committee on organised crime held a public hearing on 12 November to discuss with experts what can be done.

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A special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering was created by Parliament on Wednesday. It has a year to investigate infiltration of the EU's legal economy, public administration and financial systems by organised crime, including mafias, and propose ways to fight it.

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