The EU needs stricter rules to prevent mafia-style organisations from accessing legal economic circuits and infiltrating political circles, says a resolution adopted on Tuesday by Parliament. MEPs also suggest setting up a special committee to investigate the negative social and economic impact of organised crime in Europe.
Organised crime, especially Mafia-style crime, takes advantage of globalisation, the abolition of borders in the EU and differences among EU Member States' laws to make substantial profits and go unpunished. This is possible because criminal organisations have infiltrated and become solidly entrenched in political circles, the public sector and legitimate economic activities.
"Organised crime and mafias are a key threat to the security of the EU. This report proposes a clear line of attack. The main object is to take criminal organisations' assets away and to seize the profits of their activities. I will dedicate this work to all innocent victims of organised crime and mafia and to those who have given their lives to prevent these activities", said rapporteur Sonia Alfano (ALDE, IT), in a debate preceding the vote.
The resolution was passed with 584 votes in favour, 6 against and 48 abstentions.
Preventing access to public funds...
To prevent misuse of public funds by mafia-style organisations, MEPs call on the Commission to draft rules to ensure that the use of EU funds is fully traceable by the public authorities, the citizens and the press. Parliament devotes special attention to local authorities, who "are more liable to infiltration by organised crime", says the text.
The Commission should also draw up legislation to prevent companies linked to organised crime and mafias from taking part in public procurement procedures. Full traceability of financial flows linked to public works, services and supply contracts should be guaranteed in all instances, say MEPs.
... and attacking criminal assets
The European Commission and Member States should focus on attacking criminal assets, including those that are often hidden behind a network of front men and supporters, political institutions and lobby groups. The Commission is also asked to draw up clear guidelines on the traceability of money, to make it easier to identify the laundering of funds coming from illegal activities.
The mafia-style crime organisations operating in Europe have an impressively large turnover, particularly in the case of Italian organised crime groups, which are estimated to have revenues of at least €135 billion.
Special EP committee
A special EP committee on the spread of cross-border criminal organisations, including mafias, should be set up within three months. This committee would investigate the misuse of public funds by criminal organisations, their infiltration of the public sector and their "contamination of legal economy and financial system", says the text.
No mafia MEPs
MEPs advocate laying down rules to ensure that those who have been convicted of membership of criminal organisation will be unable to stand for European elections. European political groups should draw up internal codes of ethics to the same end and Member States should introduce similar rules for national and local elections, they add.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution