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.

Misappropriation of public funds, infiltration of the public sector, and contamination of the legal economy and financial system are some of the key threats posed by criminal organisations in the EU.

Within the time limit of its mandate, the committee is to evaluate the extent of organised crime's impact on the EU economy and society and recommend legislative and other measures to enable the EU to respond to these threats at international, European and national levels.

The decision to set up the committee was approved by a show of hands.

"The establishment of the anti-mafia committee at the European Parliament represents a real turning point in the history of European Union policies. Finally, Europe is sending a clear message to criminal organisations and gangs: the institutions are not going to back down in the face of organised crime" said Sonia Alfano (ALDE, IT), Parliament's rapporteur on this issue.

MEPs to hear judges, victims, civil society bodies and institutions

The committee, with a one year mandate extendable once, will have the power to make on site visits and hold hearings with EU and national institutions from all over the world.

MEPs may invite representatives of business and civil society and victims’ organisations, and officials, including judges, involved in the daily fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering.

Next steps

Parliament will vote on the committee's composition at the 28-29 March mini-plenary in Brussels. The special committee is to start work by the end of April this year.

Procedure: Rule 184 (setting-up of special committee)