The EU should establish a public prosecutor to protect its financial interests and introduce an EU-wide definition of Mafia-style crime, it was suggested in the Special Committee against Organised Crime on Monday. Other draft proposals include laying down new rules to protect public tendering against organised crime and using confiscated criminal assets to benefit the community.
"To protect the EU's legal economy and restore citizens' confidence in the EU institutions, we need a common EU approach to the fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering", said Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT), who drafted the discussion paper and will draw up the final proposals.
"The challenge is at EU and international level: the European 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", he added.
EU prosecutor to protect EU financial interests
An EU public prosecutor should be established to coordinate and encourage national investigations, interact with Europol, Eurojust and OLAF and combat crimes affecting the EU's financial interests, says the proposal.
Confiscating criminal assets
All member states should simplify their rules on confiscating criminals' assets, says the proposoal, suggesting that these assets could be confiscated even be done before the end of a trial, if permitted by a judicial authority. Mr Iacolino also suggests allowing confiscated assets, such as buildings or vehicles, to be used for social purposes benefitting the community.
People convicted for corruption, money laundering or for any other serious offence against the authorities should be excluded from all public tenders in the EU, and judgments against them should be immediately enforceable in all member states, adds the text.
Legal definitions of organised crime differ among EU countries, which hampers efforts to coordinate the fight against mafia-type activities at EU level. A single legal definition of mafia-style criminal activity that fully covers the phenomenon is therefore essential. This definition should stress that criminal groups of this kind are "business orientated and wield a power of intimidation", says Mr Iacolino in the draft text.
New legislation to protect witnesses and informers throughout the EU and help them to restart a new life could also improve the fight against mafias, he adds
The draft mid-term report should be adopted by the special committee on 23 April, and by plenary during May or June sessions.
Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering
In the chair: Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL, NL)