The Commission should review its legislation against corruption and organised crime to better equip Member States in their fight against criminal organisations operating in the EU, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution passed on Tuesday. MEPs call for initiatives such as EU-wide rules to seize assets from criminal organisations to re-use for social purposes and protection of whistle-blowers.
In the resolution, MEPs demand the adoption of a European Action Plan to eradicate organised crime, fraud and corruption as outlined in its resolution of 2013. They stress that this must be a political priority for the EU and that police and judicial cooperation between Member States is therefore crucial.
“Europe needs to understand the complex issue of organised crime and the danger arising from the infiltration of criminal associations into the social, economic, and political fabric of the Member States,” said rapporteur Laura Ferrara (IT, EFDD).“The criminal codes of Member States need to be fit for the challenge. This is why I call for urgent and incisive regulatory action at European level to provide law enforcement authorities with the necessary tools to properly fight organised crime groups across Europe.”
The EU Commission is also asked to draw up “blacklists of any undertakings which have proven links with organised crime or engaged in corrupt practices” and to “bar them from entering into an economic relationship with a public authority and benefitting from EU funds”.
Further, a specialist Europol unit should be created to combat organised criminal groups “which operate in several sectors at the same time,” the resolution reads. MEPs also ask for common rules for protecting whistle-blowers before the end of 2017.
The Commission should establish mandatory rules to ban people who have been convicted or participated in organised crime or other serious offences from standing for election or to work in or for the public administration - including EU institutions.
MEPs believe that employing a common method for seizing criminal organisations’ assets in the EU would be a deterrent to criminals. They call on the Commission to strengthen EU measures on “promoting the management of frozen and confiscated property and its re-use for social purposes” and as compensation for businesses and families of victims.
The report was adopted by 545 votes to 91, with 61 abstentions.
Note for editors
This non-legislative resolution is a follow-up to the action plan against organised crime, corruption and money laundering, adopted by the Parliament on Oct 23 2013, drafted by the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM), set up in March 2012. The special committee ended its works in September 2013.
In 2013, Europol identified 3600 criminal organisations operating in the EU. Organised crime is often linked with trafficking in human beings and the Commission has estimated that several hundred thousands are being trafficked every year within the EU.
The economic costs incurred by corruption in the EU amounts to around €120 billion per year according to a report by the Commission from 2014. This is one percent of the EU GDP, representing only a little less than the annual budget of the EU.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution