Europe needs stricter rules to stop organised crime, particularly the mafia, gaining access to public funds, the European Parliament says.
The abolition of borders inside the EU has helped criminal groups make profits but go unpunished.
MEPs and others, notably Italian politician Antonio Di Pietro, are now pushing for a crackdown
‘‘I think it’s extremely important that the whole of the EU is aware that without a common legal framework to fight mafia organisations and money laundering, there is always going to be the danger that something born in one member state could spread to another.’‘
It is hoped the measures, overwhelmingly backed by MEPs in Strasbourg this week, will eventually lead to full European legislation preventing the misuse of public and EU money by criminal groups.
Liberal Italian MEP Sonia Alfano said: ‘‘Today we handed the European Commission a report which presents a package of proposals: to recognise mafia association as a crime, to seize mafia goods and proceeds and re-use them for social purposes, and to create a temporary anti-mafia parliamentary committee.’‘
In addition to beefing up rules to stop EU money ending up in the hands of gangsters, MEPs also called on the Commission to find better ways to attack the assets of organised criminal groups.