Whistleblowers, informers and witnesses of mafia-style crime should be protected EU wide, says Parliament in a set of proposals voted on Tuesday. Members also want an EU-wide definition of the crime of participating in a mafia-style organisation, and an end to bank secrecy. Anyone convicted of a serious offence should be barred from bidding for public contracts for at least five years, they add.

The EU Commission estimates that global income from criminal activities amounts to 3.6% of global GDP, while corruption in the EU costs an estimated 1% of EU GDP.

Stepping up cross-border judicial and police cooperation, across the EU and with third countries is vital to protect the EU's financial interests against organised crime, corruption and money laundering, Members agreed in a vote on a resolution prepared by Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT).

EU protection programme

To step up the fight against corruption, Members ask the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal to set up an EU whistleblowers' protection programme which would also cover witnesses and informers. A proposal to create an EU prosecutor should also be ready before September of this year, Members ask.

To better coordinate the fight against mafia-type activities at EU level, Members call for a common definition of organised crime that would stress the "business oriented" nature of mafias and their "power of intimidation" and include the crime of participation in a mafia-style organisation.

End to bank secrecy

Members want bank secrecy eliminated, to help to deprive criminal organisations of their financial resources. Banks, insurance companies and credit institutions should cooperate by providing full information on corporate entities and owner beneficiaries. Information technology tools should also be used to improve the traceability of financial flows and hence mafia finances, they add.

Five-year exclusion from public contracts and elections

Any person convicted for serious crimes against the public interest (e.g. human trafficking, exploiting child labour or money laundering) should be excluded from any public tender procedure in the EU for at least 5 years, Members agreed. Anyone convicted of corruption should also be barred from standing for election to any public office in the EU, again for at least five years, they added.

These proposals are set out in a mid-term report prepared by the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. In October, Members will approve a comprehensive strategy to step up the fight against cross-border criminal activities.

The resolution was approved by a show of hands.

Procedure: non legislative resolution (mid term report)